Trudeau vows to punish CERB 'fraudsters'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will punish individuals who are deliberately taking advantage of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
“Unfortunately, in every situation there are a few criminals who will deliberately try to take advantage of a moment of solidarity, a moment where we’re in crisis and we’re trying to help each other out, by deliberately defrauding the system,” Trudeau told reporters Tuesday.
“We’ve put measures in place that will allow us to go after the deliberate fraudsters who are trying to game the system for criminal benefits.”
He added that his government won’t punish those who have mistakenly made use of both the CERB and the wage subsidy program. Instead, those individuals will simply be asked to pay back the benefit that shouldn’t have taken.
“We’re not looking at punishing people who made honest mistakes,” Trudeau said.
According to a draft legislation obtained by CTV News, the government is looking add new punishments, including possible jail time and fines, for Canadians who have defrauded the CERB program.
Trudeau’s government first introduced the CERB in March to provide Canadians who lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic financial support. As of June 4, more than $43.5 billion has been sent to 8.4 million Canadians under the CERB program, according to the Canadian government.
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