Government of Canada welcomes the Auditor General’s report on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
March 25, 2021 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, today issued the following statement in response to the Auditor General’s report on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
“Since the very beginning of this pandemic, our government’s number one priority has been to keep Canadians safe. At a time when we were asking people to stay home and flatten the curve, the CERB helped more than 8 million workers and their families stay afloat. The quick and decisive actions we took to provide income support to millions of Canadians affected by closures and public health restrictions helped buffer the worst economic impacts. As a recent International Monetary Fund report found, these actions helped protect both lives and livelihoods.
The Auditor General’s report highlights the incredible work done by the Canadian public service, and recognizes the approach taken by our government to roll out support quickly during an unprecedented emergency. In fact, the report notes that accepting certain risks to expedite payments to those in need is consistent with best practices promoted by the International Public Sector Fraud Forum and its Principles of Fraud Control in Emergency Management.
To make sure Canadians received support when they needed it the most, we created a simple and straightforward application with back-end verifications. As the benefit rolled out, we made adjustments to support even more Canadians and our economic recovery. This included an expansion of eligibility so that workers making up to $1,000 a month could still be eligible, as well as key measures to prevent fraud.
Today, we welcome the Auditor General’s report on the design and delivery of the CERB, recognize the importance of the findings and accept all recommendations. Work is already underway to address the report’s recommendations. A post-payment verification plan has been developed and initiated to ensure that those who received the benefit were eligible. Additionally, work will begin on an assessment of the CERB’s design and delivery. This will help the Government of Canada apply lessons learned for the design of future emergency response benefits.
The Government of Canada is committed to addressing cases of deliberate fraud, and the Fall Economic Statement provided additional resources to both Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency to support this work.
As we move ahead in our economic recovery, we will continue our work on post-payment verification, while also supporting Canadians who have been hit hardest during the pandemic.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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