Following an interview review process that was launched on June 30, 2023, to identify any CRA employees who inappropriately claimed the CERB payment, the tax agency confirmed Friday that 120 CRA employees have since been fired.
"Out of the approximately 600 cases we can report that 120 individuals are no longer with the CRA as a result of this internal review," a spokesperson told Narcity in a written statement. "The investigations and disciplinary processes continue."
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was created during the COVID-19 pandemic as a form of financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who were directly financially impacted by it. Those who were eligible could receive $500 per week, or $2,000 a month, and in total, over $81 billion worth of CERB was paid out.
On top of being fired, the CRA made it clear these employees who inappropriately claimed CERB also face additional penalties.
"Any CRA employee who inappropriately claimed the CERB will be required to repay the amounts if they haven’t already done so," the spokesperson said, and added the ongoing internal investigations, "could lead to referrals to law enforcement if criminality is suspected."
With hundreds of other cases of potential illegal CERB claims from CRA employees, the agency clarified that, depending on the situation, some workers could've been eligible for the money.
"Being a current employee of the CRA does not necessarily mean an individual was ineligible for the CERB," the spokesperson explained. "The CRA employs individuals with a variety of employment profiles such as temporary and student contracts; and, as such, individuals may have been eligible to receive the CERB at the time it was available."
So far, internal investigations have revealed that of these cases under review, roughly 30 CRA employees who claimed CERB were eligible to receive the payment.
"The CRA takes any form of wrongdoing very seriously, and is strongly committed to protecting the integrity of Canada’s tax and benefit systems and demonstrating to Canadians that the CRA is a trusted and fair organization. When misconduct is identified, we ensure that the appropriate actions are taken to address it," the statement continued. "The actions of some in no way undermine the honesty and integrity of the more than 60,000 CRA employees who work every day in an exemplary manner to serve Canadians."
There have been requests made by several media outlets for the CRA to identify the employees who are being investigated, or for their job titles to be investigated, but those requests have been repeatedly denied.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.