As thousands of Canadians prepare for CERB repayments, Jagmeet Singh has called on the federal government to stop “punishing” people for misunderstanding the application process.

In a tweet on Saturday evening, the NDP leader addressed concerns that some claimants may have to return thousands of dollars after finding out they were ineligible for the money.

As part of Singh’s message, he retweeted a post drawing attention to the CERB eligibility criteria, which some say failed to make net/gross income requirements clear.

“This was the Liberals’ mistake,” he said. “They need to admit they were wrong.”

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Singh went on to add, “Stop punishing people who applied in good faith and are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.”

His comments likely refer to the letters sent by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to Canadians who must repay the benefit amount.

Applicants asked to return the money include those who may have accidentally received double payments, as well as those who misunderstood the eligibility criteria when the benefit was launched.

It’s a message that’s been backed up by other party leaders, too.

Earlier this week, Green Party leader Annamie Paul said the CERB application left many people confused about whether they qualify and said asking them to repay during the pandemic would be "heartless, unreasonable and unfair."

While the federal government has promised that those who applied in good faith will not be charged penalties or interest, officials say there are no plans for CERB repayments to be scrapped.

Repayments aren’t being enforced before 2021, but the CRA recommends paying any outstanding CERB debts before December 31 to avoid it affecting your taxes next year.

 
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