A report tabled by Auditor General Karen Hogan determined that the Trudeau Liberals overpaid emergency response benefits by billions.
Report 10 – Specific COVID-19 Benefits – details that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) effectively delivered COVID-19 emergency relief subsidies to Canadians affected by government sanctioned lockdowns, yet payouts were billions more than what they should have been.
In order to act swiftly at the beginning of the pandemic hysteria, the Government relied on self-submitted applications and limited pre-payment controls to expedite payments to Canadians through programs such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Ms. Hogan found that this resulted in overpayments of $4.6 billion paid to ineligible individuals with an estimated $27.4 billion needing further investigation.
A breakdown of some discrepancies needing investigation showed that $1.6 million went to individuals who quit their jobs, $4.6 million went to duplicate payments, $6.1 million went to people who were in jail for the benefit period, $3.3 million went to those not residing in Canada at the time, $2.2 million went to those under age 15, and $1.2 million went to deceased Canadians.
As the CRA and ESDC did not incorporate post-payment eligibility verification plans, the “government may be running out of time to identify and recover amounts owing because of legislated time frames to verify recipients’ eligibility.”
To date, roughly $2.3 billion of overpayments have been recovered. This program is strictly volunteer based which means only individuals who call the CRA to submit requests for amounts owed are processed.
Auditor Hogan urged the CRA and ESDC to “act now to expand their post-payment verification plans,” urging the “department and agency to carry out their plans and recover COVID-19 benefit amounts owed.”
It was revealed that the Trudeau Liberals sent 4,637 cheques to Canadians living abroad and another 15,409 to deceased Canadians as early as May 2021.
This kind of exaggerated pandemic support is what is driving inflation, according to the chief economist at the Bank of Nova Scotia in a recent inflation publication.
Jean-Francois Perrault found that while global factors and supply challenges are at play, “pandemic support programs for firms and households are creating the excess demand that the country is experiencing.”