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Class-action lawsuit proposed against Trudeau Liberals over CERB requirements

The Trudeau government's confusing mixed messages about the eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has prompted the proposition for a class action lawsuit.

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Elie Cantin-Nantel Ottawa ON
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The Trudeau government's confusing mixed messages about the eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has prompted some to launch a class-action lawsuit.

Global News reports that Janet Ann Ryan, a retired Montessori teacher from Mississauga, Ontario, is the representative plaintiff. She is one of many Canadians worried they'll have to pay back $14,000 worth of CERB payments.

This comes after the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sent out 441,000 letters saying that the program's eligibility for self-employed Canadians of an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before applying was referring to "net pre-tax income," or gross income minus expenses.

These letters left many people worried that they would have to pay back money to the government. Ryan tells Global News she was shocked to receive one of these letters, as she had carefully reviewed the CERB instructions.

The lawyer who launched the lawsuit, Jan Weir, says that he hopes it will help everyone who was impacted by the government's poor communication over net and gross income.

"If the court interprets this the way I expect that they will, it’s for everyone," he told to Global News. The lawsuit is yet to be certified, but Weir is hopeful that it will give the CRA "a reason to hold off" going after CERB recipients who didn't meet the requirements due to confusion.

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