The quick and decisive actions taken by the Government of Canada to provide income support through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) helped more than 8 million workers and their families stay afloat, and millions more through the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) that followed.
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada selected an attestation-based approach to provide this urgently-needed income support to Canadians in a timely fashion. Individuals determined if they were eligible for benefits based on established, publicly available criteria. The Government has been clear throughout the pandemic that while there will not be any penalties, individuals will have to repay the emergency benefits for which they were not entitled.
Having recovered the jobs lost at the height of the pandemic and Canada’s unemployment rate at a historic low of 5.2%, repayment activities for the CERB and other emergency and recovery benefits have begun. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) are working together to ensure that those who received COVID-19 individual benefits were eligible for them.
Starting today, the CRA will begin sending Notices of Redetermination (NoRs) to inform Canadians of the debts that have been established on their CRA accounts. Canadians who receive these letters, but still believe they are eligible for these payments, should contact the CRA and provide any additional information required to validate their claim.
This follows the Notices of Debt (NoDs) that ESDC began sending in November 2021, to benefit recipients who received an advance payment of $2,000 in 2020 but did not remain on CERB long enough to fully reconcile that payment by applying for subsequent payment periods. ESDC will issue the last of these letters in July 2022.
The CRA and ESDC want to assure Canadians they will continue to be supported when calling in to discuss their unique situations. Our call agents are able to work with individuals on a case-by-case basis, to find solutions to their situation, including flexible payment arrangements. There will be no interest or penalties applied to any repayments. The Government of Canada will also work with all impacted individuals to ensure any questions they may have are answered.
We recognize that receiving this type of correspondence can be stressful and we remain committed to supporting Canadians. Individuals are encouraged to follow the directions they receive in any correspondence from the Government of Canada.
For more information, please visit: When you owe money – collections at the CRA.