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e-3066 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Sabrina Zimmermann from Port Alberni, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was created to provide financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who were directly affected by COVID-19;
  • After the CERB’s end date of September 26, 2020, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sent out letters to 441,000 Canadians who had received the CERB, warning that they may need to repay up to $14,000 due to ineligibility;
  • When the CERB was open for applications, the government did not appropriately specify whether Canadians should determine their eligibility using their gross or net self-employment income;
  • Some CRA agents provided incorrect information about whether eligibility was based on gross or net self-employment income; and
  • Canadians who applied for the CERB in good faith should not be penalized for eligibility errors or misguidance that occurred on the part of the government.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to retroactively allow self-employed Canadians to use their gross pre-tax income before business expenses when determining their CERB eligibility.

Response by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): IREK KUSMIERCZYK

The Government of Canada thanks the petitioners for sharing their views on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The Government acknowledges the challenges self-employed Canadians have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provided temporary income support to workers who stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19. The CERB provided $500 per week for a maximum of 28 weeks. It was available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020.

On February 9, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that self-employed individuals who applied for the CERB and would have qualified based on their gross income will not be required to repay the benefit, provided they also met all other eligibility requirements. The same approach will apply whether the individual applied through the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada.

This means that self-employed individuals whose net self-employment income was less than $5,000 and who applied for the CERB will not be required to repay the CERB, as long as their gross self-employment income was at least $5,000 and they met all other eligibility criteria.

Some self-employed individuals whose net self-employment income was less than $5,000 may have already voluntarily repaid the CERB. Additional details will be available in the coming weeks.

Once again, the Government of Canada wishes to thank the petitioners. Their views have helped inform the Government’s ongoing efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open for signature
December 24, 2020, at 10:56 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 23, 2021, at 10:56 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
January 27, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00446)
Government response tabled
March 12, 2021
Photo - Paul Manly
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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