Demand for some CERB recipients to repay the benefit scrapped by federal government

By Stephanie Levitz | February 9, 2021 | Last updated on February 9, 2021
1 min read
Parliament buildings at sunset

Thousands of Canadians told they’d have to repay federal emergency benefits are getting reprieves.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says those who applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit based on their net incomes, not their gross, won’t have to cut the government a cheque.

Thousands of repayment letters went out last year to self-employed Canadians.

They’d been told that to qualify for the CERB they had to have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before they applied.

But how to calculate that income became a sticking point, with confusion over whether it meant income before or after expenses were deducted.

In turn, upwards of 400,000 people were told they’d have to repay because they weren’t in fact eligible for them.

Stephanie Levitz