Even more Canadians have now been contacted about CERB repayments, according to a new statement from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Back in November, the CRA revealed that over 213,000 people in Canada had received a letter about returning their Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the government.
This number has now more than doubled, with CTV News reporting a new figure of 441,000.
According to the report, thousands of Canadians have been sent an “educational letter” from the agency, warning that they may not have been eligible to claim the CERB and therefore may have to repay it.
If you're worried you could be impacted, here's what you need to know:
Who got a letter?
In a statement shared with CTV News, the CRA explained that individuals may have received letters for different reasons.
Overall, though, they were sent to people who claimed the CERB but the CRA have been unable to confirm their eligibility.
This includes self-employed Canadians who may have misunderstood the wording of the application, as well as people who did not file their taxes in 2019.
Those who received double payments from both the CRA and Service Canada have also been asked to repay.
The agency confirmed that the letters received by those who may be ineligible and those who got paid too much are “distinctly different,” but said some claimants may have received both.
What did it say?
According to the Canada Revenue Agency, receiving the letter doesn’t necessarily mean someone has “definitively been deemed ineligible for the CERB.”
Instead, it means that the CRA does not have the information it needs to confirm they qualify for it.
It was also sent in an attempt to clear up confusion related to the income aspect of the original CERB application.
“The CRA is taking an educational approach with these letters,” the agency told CTV News.
“As such, the goal of the letter is to explain what qualifies as earned income to be eligible for CERB, and what does not.”
What will happen next?
While thousands of Canadians may have to repay their CERB benefits, the government agency has made it clear that there will be no penalties or interest charged to those who applied incorrectly but in good faith.
While repayments don’t need to be made on a set date, the CRA is advising those who can return the money before December 31 to avoid it impacting next year's taxes.
Singh called on the federal government to admit they made a mistake in the CERB application process, while Paul said it would be “heartless” to make Canadians repay up to $18,000 during a pandemic.