Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to questions during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Monday June 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Fines, punishment for CERB ‘fraudsters’, not people who made mistakes: Trudeau

Some people may have received both CERB and wage subsidy

The prime minister said the federal government would not punish Canadians who mistakenly ended up with more COVID-related benefits than they were entitled to.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during his daily Rideau Cottage address on Tuesday (June 9).

“The Canada Emergency Response Benefit was put in place in a way we knew would maximize the speed with which it would reach the millions who needed it,” Trudeau said, acknowledging that there were not a lot of upfront background or eligibility checks.

After a draft bill was leaked on Monday, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he would not support a bill that would punish people who made fraudulent claims.

On Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the people who “mistakenly took the CERB and the wage subsidy… those people will just have to pay back.” Some Canadians could have ended up with both as they first applied for CERB as they were laid off, and then were rehired and received the wage subsidy, which their employer applied for.

“We’re not looking at punishing people who made mistakes, Trudeau said, but rather “deliberate fraudsters.”

The prime minister said those fraudsters were “criminals who will deliberately try to take advantage of a moment… when we’re in crisis by defrauding the system.”

The CERB was unveiled by the prime minister on March 25, with the first round of payments in bank accounts within the first half of April. People who applied for EI prior to the CERB’s announcement were switched over to the new benefit, which promised $500 a week for people who lost their jobs for COVID-related reasons.

Applications for the wage subsidy opened on April 27 – more than one month after the CERB was announced. Funding began flowing to employers at the start of May. The wage subsidy was meant to cover payroll only, paying out 75 per cent of each employee’s salary, up to $847 per week.

READ MORE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

ALSO READ: Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Ryga Arts Festival to include virtual and in-person events

Arts festival in Summerland will run from Aug. 15 to 23

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Rescued hawk returned to Lumby skies

A rehabilitated Swainson’s hawk was returned to its Rawlings Lake habitat

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

Most Read