The Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit Program (CERB ) is about a week old and it's already turning into a disaster rather than a disaster relief program.
The Liberal government is giving the new coronavirus payment to everyone who applies — including people who will not need it — while making small businesses and job creators wait up to four weeks before qualifying businesses receive any form of aid.
According to the Toronto Star:
The application [for CERB] takes minutes and those who set up direct deposit will receive funds within a few days. The catch is that if it is later determined the applicant was not eligible, they will have to repay the funds when taxes for 2020 are due next spring.
If applicants are eligible, they can keep the payment but it will be considered taxable income.
According to the office of federal Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough, to get the CERB you just have to say that you’re eligible — the verification will be done later.
“Come tax time next year the (government) would be able to verify all the eligibility criteria,” a spokesperson for the minister said.
The feds will also increase GST payments for those who normally qualify, and top up those who don’t.
In the meantime, in the business world, another narrative altogether is unfolding. The same sort of help is not coming.
Despite being approved by Parliament, it may take up to four weeks before the $73-billion wage subsidy program for employers is finally paid out and even then, unlike the nearly instant payouts from the CERB program to anyone who applies, there is extreme oversight, strict qualification criteria, and pre-approval financial scrutiny for applicant businesses.
According to a report in Blacklock’s Reporter, unlike the bigger GST cheques for recipients, there is no relief for GST remitters:
“Cabinet can’t rebate GST payments to small businesses because “it’s not their money”, says Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Opposition MPs last week proposed the rebate as a quick $30 billion remittance to employers facing bankruptcy.”
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has failed to act on his promise to help the oil industry already hammered by OPEC’s predatory dumping, low market access and a coronavirus shutdown. To add insult to injury, on April 1, Canadians also received a 50% hike in the carbon tax.
If you wanted to make a permanent welfare class of Canadian citizens, completely reliant on the government for everything from the roof over their heads to the food in their bellies, this is exactly what you would do.
You would let the job creators die a painful however fast death while dishing out immediate cash with little oversight to people applying for it.