More than $4 billion in COVID-19 benefits paid to people who were not eligible: AG

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Published December 6, 2022 at 12:30 pm

OTTAWA — Canada’s auditor general says COVID-19 benefits were delivered quickly and helped mitigate economic suffering, however, the federal government hasn’t done enough to recover overpayments.

In a new report assessing how well the government did getting benefits to people in need, Karen Hogan says the programs delivered relief to workers and employers and helped the economy rebound.

At the same time, the report says the Canada Revenue Agency and Employment and Social Development Canada have not followed up by verifying payments.

Hogan estimates $4.6 billion was paid to people who were not eligible, while another $27.4 billion in payments to people and businesses should be further investigated.

The audit found that efforts to recover overpayments have been limited, with the Canada Revenue Agency collecting $2.3 billion through voluntary repayments.

Hogan also said the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program did help sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, but it is unclear how effective that help was because of how little data was collected from businesses.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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