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Canada Revenue Agency employees fired for 'improperly' claiming Emergency Response Benefit Canada
Representative image/ courtesy: Pixabay

Canada Revenue Agency employees fired for 'improperly' claiming Emergency Response Benefit

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 28 Mar 2024, 12:29 am

Toronto/IBNS: A whopping 232 Canada Revenue Agency employees have been fired for improperly claiming the COVID-era Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

"Anyone who is found to be ineligible for the CERB must repay it. Any CRA employee who inappropriately applied for and received the CERB will be required to repay the amounts if they haven't already done so," CRA spokesperson Sylvie Branch said in a statement.

Following months-long internal investigation of approximately 600 employees, only 133 employees were eligible for CERB, the CRA said.

Under the CERB program, Canadians could receive up to $2,000 a month in financial support if the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada had affected their employment.

It was reported by Canada's auditor general in 2022 that of the estimated $211 billion in COVID-19 aid that the federal government provided, $4.6 billion in overpayments were made to ineligible people.

Although the CRA acknowledged that 600 staff represents less than one percent of its more than 60,000 person workforce, the federal agency said that cases would be referred to law enforcement "if criminality is suspected."

"The actions of some should in no way undermine the honesty and integrity of the thousands of CRA employees who work every day in an exemplary manner to serve Canadians," Branch said.

Last week, CRA said that Festus Bayden, of Brampton, Ont was given a three-year prison sentence for his role in a fraud case involving more than $34 million in false charitable donations.

"These promoters deliberately make false statements to assist their clients in avoiding or evading tax...they obtain a financial benefit from the fees they receive from their clients...the CRA holds both those promoters who facilitate tax evasion, as well as those who use their services to evade taxes, accountable for their actions," the Canada Revenue Agency has said in a statement.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)

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