Over $443 million in pandemic funding was claimed by ineligible Canadians, the Department of Social Development revealed yesterday, raising questions as to why payments were made to over 220,000 people receiving Employment Insurance, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
Via the CERB, applicants received $2,000 cheques for those who had lost their job due to the coronavirus. 221,320 applicants were given the funding, despite knowledge that they were already covered by EI.
“There are situations where clients mistakenly applied for the benefit," an Inquiry of Ministry from cabinet read.
“The government gave clear direction that the priority was to provide the benefit to Canadians,” said Benoît Robidoux, the associate deputy minister of employment on May 15. “We needed to adapt our system to do that, and we did.”
“Public servants are not looking into cases but are actively ignoring potential fraud by ineligible people when it is obvious,” Conservative MP Dan Albas. “That is not doing checks later. That is ignoring the issues that are right in front of the public servant.
“We’re saying when it’s obvious someone is not eligible, they shouldn’t ignore that,” said Albas. “They should look into that. We’re not saying slow down the system. We’re saying ensure that the resources go to the right people.”
The cost for the CERB was originally estimated to cost Canadians $24 billion, with costs now reaching over $71 billion, according to the Department of Finance.