Vicki Aitaok is a volunteer who prepares taxes for Nunavummiut who need the help. She fears a federal requirement to pay back part of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will cause hardship for the people she helps. (Photo courtesy of Vicki Aitaok)

As tax time looms, Nunavut leaders and advocates call on feds to forgive CERB debt

Confusion reigns over how repayment schemes will work for those who can’t afford it

By Randi Beers

Emergency federal funding intended to relieve financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to haunt its recipients, even as the international health emergency rages on.

Whether through clawbacks or taxes, everybody who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, commonly known as CERB, will have to pay some of it back.

Some are saying this fact will end up harming Nunavummiut who are in most need of help.

Vicki Aitaok is an educator in Cambridge Bay who prepares income tax returns on a volunteer basis for people across the territory who can’t afford to pay someone to do it.

She doesn’t know how many of her clients took the CERB but she worries those who did will soon get a rude awakening because the federal government did not deduct income tax from it before issuing payments.

“The people who are getting [CERB] are low-income and are part-time wage earners,” she said.

“Many of these people have lower education levels and they’re not familiar with how taxes work. So they don’t know that there’s going to be a problem, until the problem arises.”

Aitaok estimates she files taxes on behalf of close to 200 people per year, with the help of a small team she has trained.

She acknowledges the government warned people to set aside part of their CERB but still thinks it was a “big mistake” not to just tax it at the source.

She pointed out that normally federal benefits, including the ones rolled out this year alongside CERB, are taxed beforehand.

Aitaok is calling on federal leaders to forgive repayments.

“I really don’t believe that they should be making the people suffer for their error,” she said.

Potential to get “hammered” with repayment requirements

Arviat North—Whale Cove MLA John Main says that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, has been beneficial for some of his constituents, but he is concerned about what will happen when federal government claw-backs begin during tax season. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

John Main, the MLA for Arviat North—Whale Cove, shares a similar concern.

“There is potential for my constituents to get hammered with repayment requirements or clawbacks,” he said.

Main criticized communications around the CERB rollout in Nunavut, saying there was no information provided in Inuktut.

That, compounded with a lack of Service Canada offices in many Nunavut communities, led to rumours flying about what CERB was, and who it was intended for, said Main.

“If people understood it clearly, it would have translated into less ineligible people applying, less repayment,” he said.

In June, Premier Joe Savikataaq warned Nunavummiut that the benefit was intended only for people who weren’t making money because of COVID-19. At the time, he said he didn’t know whether people were abusing it, but acknowledged it was easy to access and wanted to get proper information out there.

Gov’t promises to work with impacted individuals on “case-by-base” basis

On top of the tax issue, some people may have received CERB even though they were ineligible.

To qualify, recipients had to have earned at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months, but there was confusion over whether that could be calculated as gross, or before-tax, earnings or not.

Late last year, the Canada Revenue Agency sent letters to 441,000 CERB recipients who might be in this boat.

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq called on the federal government to stop going after ‘struggling Nunavummiut.’ (File photo)

The government later admitted it had provided bad information, according to media reports at the time, and now, some who received CERB may be on the hook to repay thousands of dollars.

According to Statistics Canada, 10,020 Nunavummiut applied for CERB, but a spokesperson with the Canada Revenue Agency would not say how many letters it sent to people in Nunavut.

The agency has been vague about how CERB repayment will work for those who can’t afford it, except to say that no repayment is required right now, and those who owe will not face penalties or interest.

“We recognize that, for some individuals, repaying the CERB could present a significant financial hardship,” said agency spokesperson Charles Drouin in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

“We will work with impacted individuals on a case-by-case basis, and we expect to be in a position to provide more details in the coming weeks.”

Nunatsiaq News asked Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough for more clarity about what that support might look like, in light of public statements she made earlier this week, that the agency is not considering debt forgiveness.

“We are looking at all options available so that we can best support workers who may have received the CERB when they were not eligible,” states an email from her office.

For her part, Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said it’s “just wrong” to expect people to repay the benefit.

“It is the Liberals who made a mistake with CERB eligibility,” she said to Nunatsiaq News via email.

“They have to stop going after struggling Nunavummiut by making them repay it.”

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(68) Comments:

  1. Posted by Give me a break on

    It was widely and repeatedly publicized in Nunavut and in communities that there were certain criteria that must be met to qualify for the CERB payment: media sources, including the premier’s FB page, there were announcements on local radio stations. GLO’s & income support workers warned folks.
    “I didn’t know” Bull Shit . . . more people jumped on the bandwagon in applying for money they didn’t qualify for.
    Absolutely, there were people in Nunavut who qualified for it, but there were a whole lot that didn’t. People outright lied when completing the CERB application. Yes, there may have been confusion about the benefit int he beginning– that was happening across Canada, but as weeks and months went by, criteria became more firmly outlined. Again there was a blitz of information sent out by levels of government warning people — did people who then knew that they should never have been receiving the payments take steps to indicate that they had made an ‘error’ in applying for the payments, so that they would stop receiving additional monies –some people may have, many did not.

    Not int his article, but in other media sources there have been a great number of comments about what that money was being spent on:a whole lot of new IPhones (and related things) drugs, alcohol, etc. Mass ordering of things online: shopping sprees. There are dozens of informal posts where people repeatedly pointed all of this out.

    Stealing of taxpayer’s money: Lying, fraud & theft. Not just some Nunavut residents or northern residents –anyone across Canada who did this, needs to Pay It Back: even if it hurts. One could even argue that criminal charges could be laid.

    • Posted by I agree on

      I agree, they need to pay it back, we are not givin a free money. Hard workers needs to be respected. For those who applied while they are not qualified should face tough times like we expected. They bought expensive stuffs while they cannot afford them when CERB wasn’t exist.

      • Posted by Marc demmon on

        There was no human connection on the phone it was a robot operator I had to try twice to push the cell phone numbers no human to tell me what was correct or correct we are miss lead by technology

        • Posted by Misled by your fingers on

          Did technology make you dial the CERB number?
          If you mistakenly recieced money because you misunderstood the question, did you try to rectify the mistake and send it back? Or did you spend it?
          Did you call again every 2 weeks and keep getting misled by technology?
          Technology is sophisticated but in this case it was pretty straight forward. If you keep blaming outside factors for your own errors then it’s going to be a rough life.

    • Posted by Tony on

      I know of hundreds of people on welfare who claimed cerb payments to the tune of 10,000 dollars.i asked some of them how they were elegible? Response was! And i quote” what can they do to me.i got nothing anyway.take my gst.big deal.i said you cokld be charged with fraud,

    • Posted by S Sm on

      I had to read this twice – For her part, Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said it’s “just wrong” to expect people to repay the benefit.

      The implication that is implied is that the ineligible Nunavummiut recipients of the CERB are not capable or intellectually competent enough to understand the consequences of their actions and therefore should not have to repay. The tone of the article perpetuates the stereotype of the literate, uneducated, native who society should not expect much of. Now, I think, that is discrimination, whether they are struggling or not.

  2. Posted by Unbelievable on

    This is ridiculous, they knew exactly what they were doing. This MP is tiring, there were Inuit that were fully employed that had not been laid off that decided to quit and collect CERB. Using federal money “My godamn tax money” that I a legitimate business owner pay to support the economy as do hundreds of thousands of others do every day. Instead many were seen just collecting CERB and drinking the money away. I know of one family that 6 people in the house collected CERB. Don’t tell me they didn’t know what they were doing and that they’d have to pay it back cause it was fraud. You aren’t helping your people by not creating a system of fairness and right and wrong. You are crying it’s wrong of the feds and that the onus is on the feds to not make them eligible in the 1st place. They created a system to help people fast which was vulnerable however they did it like this to help people in need which it did. Now to say well Inuit shouldn’t have to pay it back is BS and wrong and you know it. Wrong is wrong and things will never change if people don’t learn right from wrong if you keep playing these cards. Pathetic

  3. Posted by nunavutmiut on

    Truthfully they shouldn’t have to pay it back… As long as they send every other persons who didn’t get it a big fat cheque for the $16,000+ that those who committed fraud did. Between me, my wife, my 2 sons who are over 18yrs who live in the same household; we expect to get a payment of $64,000+ in the mail. I’ll be holding my breath.

  4. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    People knew they weren’t eligible and applied anyways saying it’s “free money”, or “money comes and goes” etc…Social media was rife with commentary about it and people encouraging others to apply for it and worry about the repercussions later. It was very clear on the government website who was eligible and people were warned time and time again. Why do we keep enabling people to commit fraud? Although I’m sure people will be happy if they don’t have to pay tax on it or have it all clawed back if they accessed it fraudulently, does it occur to anyone else how patronising this is? Poor little Inuks are too ignorant to know better, let’s let them of the hook. So if that is the case I’m sure there are millions of southern Canadians who were too ignorant to know better too so let them off the hook too.

  5. Posted by Unamused on

    If our MP and assorted MLAs were so concerned about the level of information that was available, perhaps they should have DONE THEIR JOBS and let people know. You know, spent some time telling people in public service messages how it would work.

  6. Posted by Wheres my money? on

    What really annoys me the most is how many people abused the system and then claim ignorance. What about every honest person out there who thought “sure I could use that money, but I don’t qualify”. The GN, the Hamlets, the Feds could not have made it clearer: The message was plastered left right and center, in English Inuktitut French, probably even in Chinese!
    If NTI or the RIO’s want to forgive their debt, go for it. If the government decides to forgive their debt then every single Nunavummiut deserves a piece of the pie. Now where do I get my $16k check Mummilaq?
    We are all adults who need to live with the consequences of our actions. STOP trying to justify the illegal act of committing FRAUD. Either pay up or face the consequences.

  7. Posted by Honesty on

    They have to pay it back. Take it at $10-20 a month if they are low income, but it has to be paid back. Nunavut has to stop rewarding bad behaviour. Everyone knew that they didn’t qualify, they just hoped it would be forgiven, using the usual “poor me” card. If you treat people like they have the ability to make better choices, which they do, by making them pay back the money they took fraudulently, they will learn from that. Letting people keep the money they took fraudulently with no consequences will do more harm to them than good. Pay it back.

    • Posted by Stacie on

      speaking of doing more harm than good. Well there is major fraud on the government happening with these homeless entities at least in Edmonton anyways and they (cra) isn’t concerned about hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions being used in organized crime that has gone on since 2010 that I am aware of and still going on to present date so the cerb should be nothing more than a oops at best. Just saying.

  8. Posted by Bill Tagalik on

    make em’pay. make em’pay for every penny they wrongfully took. let it screw their benefits and future payments up. make them pay.

    • Posted by Marc w Demmon on

      No body told them that it was taxable all they got was robo operator on the phone no human connection

  9. Posted by David on

    “It is the Liberals who made a mistake with CERB eligibility,” she said to Nunatsiaq News via email.
    There is a lot more to being a leader than just simply blaming others and pointing fingers. Of the 441 000 warning letters sent, very few are victims.

    The Liberals made it easy to get the money, or it would have taken at least a month for people to receive it. They chose to do what is best for the people who needed help.

    What more could have been done to inform people? That’s an honest question. What more could have been done? There were non-stop warnings about who qualified for this money and who didn’t. Non-stop warnings it would have to be paid back. This is no surprise to anyone.

    Really, if you are going to point fingers here, its our Federal leader who has to accept blame. Nunavut’s MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, would it not be her responsibility to get the message out? It’s Federal money and it’s her job. She is no innocent here.

  10. Posted by A Frustrated and incensed Inuk on

    “We didn’t know we had to pay this back,”?
    Everyone who applied knew this was a taxable program. And if they say they didn’t they’re claiming a bold-faced lie!
    To the MLAs , MP, and our NGOs who say there wasn’t enough information put out there for the applicants to see, why didn’t you push more info out there yourselves. Twiddling your thumbs, sitting on your butt hoping you won’t be noticed for not saying anything beforehand and then blaming the feds afterwards? Covering your own butts and trying to look good for the next election.
    Every Canadian who applied for this has been told that they have to pay it back! Why should we be different? Cause we’re ignorant and don’t know any better? PLEASE!
    I had to work throughout the whole time. I applied and got money for the on-the-land program and have been given meat packs which I thank our local KIA for and will gladly pay pack for if asked. I pay taxes too so to say you want me and others like me to carry your tax load too is unreal!
    Shame on those higher ups for trying to promote this ridiculous idea.
    It’s like saying “We want to be treated the same but we want to be treated different!”

  11. Posted by Pay it back on

    As it’s said, you do the crime, you do the time. It was know that only qualified Canadian residents can apply for CERB, but yet too many Nunavummiut held their hands open to receive this free money. If you qualify, great and I hope it helped you during the time of need. If you did not, pay back any cent of it. Our Government and MP should not even bring this up as a point of discussion. It need to be paid back, no if and no other excuses

  12. Posted by Entitled on

    If you took money from CERB that you were not entitled to then you should pay it back.

  13. Posted by Hmmmmm on

    The following statement is incorrect I think: “Whether through clawbacks or taxes, everybody who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, commonly known as CERB, will have to pay some of it back.” As far as I know only people who received it by error or fraud will have to pay it back.

    • Posted by Clear it up on

      For clarity, what I understand is that anyone who either received it in error or fraudulently, needs to repay in full. For those who were entitled to it, the first round of CERB wasn’t taxed, therefore, they will have to pay the taxes on the amount received. They did warn that those receiving it should put some aside for taxes owing. It happened like this because the government wanted to help everyone as quickly as possible. In the second round of payments, taxes were taken off.

  14. Posted by okay on

    One way to treat all Canadians fairly is to retroactively give everyone CERB. I was fortunate not to have to apply for CERB but I think it is unfair to all those who had to work and risk their lives not to received CERB if those who were not eligible get a free pass.

    • Posted by Not really on

      Well, a number of us were able to work safely from home and more recently from the office. While working from home, some of us in Nunavut could have had any extra internet costs reimbursed by our employer, or we got extra data from our service provider. So, a number of us were not in danger at work, and should not get CERB. For people who worked in dangerous conditions, what is needed are standards, paid sick leave, resources to acquire the necessary protection tools for employees, investigations, repercussions when rules to protect employees are not respected. So, the game is not about getting more and more and more. We need to be decent, support each other, not use a pandemic to be greedy. On the other hand there are definitely people who are struggling anyway and will take things not out of pure greed but out of desperation. But it appears that in some instances greed will have been the motivation. It seems that over payments will be addressed on a case by case, and that is what should happen, as each situation will be different. A blanket call to shower everyone with money or incentivise fraudulent behaviour is not wise.

  15. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    wait wait wait, if it’s free money and we don’t have to pay it back, can I still apply retroactively and get some of this free money?

    FFS get your bloody head out of the sand, erm, snow bank and smarten the hell up!

    we all knew it was not free money. I was telling my cousins not to apply for it because it will only come back and screw you later in the new year. it’s embarrassing how people are trying to claim ignorance and “i didn’t know” now. smarten up people.

  16. Posted by Vicki Aitaok on

    Where are you commenters getting your info from?
    How do you know the bulk of the people received CERB fraudulently and not through error?
    Ah yes, the good old Tundra Telegraph, now commonly known as Facebook.
    Stop assuming. When the tax season is over there will be facts about errors vs fraud. The story may look different then.

    • Posted by Fire in the hole on

      I think many of us have seen first hand our acquaintances, friends and people we just know who have knowingly taken CERB money under false pretenses. I know a few. Sure it’s not big data, still anecdotes abound. But aren’t you making assumptions also?

    • Posted by Facts are facts on

      The statistics reported showed that more people in Nunavut applied than would be eligible. Basically the entire private sector in terms of numbers applied. Did the entire private sector plus 1800 other people qualify for CERB? Nope. Vast majority was fraud. Claw back the income support from these people.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      You are right about one thing. Come tax time it will be very apparent who was receiving the CERB fraudulently as all income gets reported to the CRA. It will be very clear then who was still working or receiving SA and were double dipping by applying for the CERB when they didn’t qualify. Nothing to do with facebook or other social media. People were very blatant about getting the “free money” regardless the number of times people told them not to apply because they didn’t qualify and it was abundantly clear on the CRA website and the numerous PSA’s that came out about it. I guess people like you, Main and Mumilaaq etc…. I guess you think you are big heroes taking this stance but I find it highly patronising and encouraging people to be unaccountable. You are just telling people they are to stupid or ignorant to figure things out or do the right thing. Does it get any more colonial than that?

    • Posted by Cambaybiut on

      Vicki, why don’t you wander over to the Northern and ask anyone who was there what happened when those checks arrived? They had more sales than some Christmas seasons, and it wasn’t all on food or other necessities, unless you count large screen TVs as necessities.

  17. Posted by Minnie Mumwager on

    Ignorance of the law doesn’t excuse anyone, the end.

    • Posted by Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse on

      Your comment is one that is often heard. It is often used by those in power. Thatdoes not necessarily make it right.
      Like Vikki, I too have helped Inuit with their income tax. Tax law in Canada is very complicated and getting more-so every year. It is pretty much impossible for anyone to know all of it unless they do nothing else.
      But it gets worse. This is not the only time Ottawa has given money to people. I’ve seen cases where Ottawa sent money to Inuit whocould not read, presuming they would qualify for it in the future. The Inuit spent the money on their kids. Circumstances changed and they did not meeet the qualifications that they knew nothing about. Ottawa wrote, asking for the money back. But, the recipients had already spent it, and they could not read the letter. So, year after year, Ottawa piles up penalty and interest.
      You do know that when Cartier stepped onto First Nation land he and his crew were subject to their law. He seems to have been ignoant of the message sent to him via smoke signals that gave notice that he and his people had to leave. Ignorance of their law was no excuse. It appears everyone of European ancestry is guilty of trespass and required to leave North America.

      • Posted by A Little Skeptical on

        A problem with a story like, about Ottawa just handing out money to Inuit then wanting it back, is that it lacks enough specificity to be verifiable and this makes it less credible. I’m not saying it isn’t true, but I would like more info on what you are referring too so it can be properly assessed.

      • Posted by How Can Such People Be Informed Citizens? on

        The message that I take from you anecdote is that we have too many people illiterate in one of our national languages to function as informed citizens.

        So, what do we need to do to equip them with the skills needed? Looks like remedial literacy lessons would be a good first step.

  18. Posted by Rest of Canada on

    First off NWT and Nunavut are very fortunate that we have our own dedicated CRA office. The wait times are always significantly less when calling than the normal line and I find you get a much more personal conversation rather than trying to push you through the call so they can get to the rest of the que.
    Second off the application and process, either online or via paper filing both had the eligibility requirements clearly on it. Not only that, you have to click online and sign via paper that you fully understood and READ them.
    Third, what about the rest of Canada. You can’t just exempt one group and not exempt the rest. We’re past those days. Its equal treatment across Canada. Do you really think CRA is going to exempt all people across Canada because Nunavut is lobbying for it? Its a bit mind blowing if so.
    Four, our MP has not provided anything useful in months. Why are they not on the horn trying to relay best practices in the event this thing is repayable. Why has there been no education or information coming from our MP’s office. Why is our MP not looking at this in the light of what if they dont forgive it which is the most likely situation. Politically Nunavut has been left in the dust. No strong voice, just a person who takes the path of least resistance for trying to please future voters and says “Just Wrong”. What is wrong? The individual checked the boxes, signed the papers, signed saying they read them!
    It’s highly unlikely , and i mean near zero chance that people are forgiven. Our MP should be lobbying for friendly repayment plans such as 5 year zero interset or a % based on total taxable income per year, etc.
    The Liberals may have made the mistake in trusting Canadians, that includes Nunavut by the way. They had to roll out emergency money fast and didnt have capacity to ensure that people who said they meet the requirements via saying they did through signature actually met them. People lost jobs rapidly and had bills that didnt stop coming and thus money needed to be rolled out rapidly. The Fed’s dont have that level of staffing, no one does, so the honour method was used. It’s just unfortunate we have so many Canadians readily willing to commit fraud.
    Ultimately I don’t think it will be forgiven, it would have to be for all of Canada and that is just not feasible since then you would have to disburse money to everyone who didn’t apply in addition since that is the only way to make it fair. I do hope our MP decides to wake up and start lobbying for favourable repayment terms for her constituents. I wish her the best of luck in trying to navigate this, I just think she needs to look at it realistically within the scope of all of Canada.
    Just ask yourself how would forgiving Nunavut impact how the Federal Government treats the rest of Canada and how would it impact those who didn’t apply and could have applied and just have had it forgiven.

  19. Posted by Uvaali on

    Talked until I was blue in the face and they still took the money they understood they were not entitled to.

    Now you want to add further wrong by saying maybe they didn’t understand. Being paternalistic serves no one.

  20. Posted by Norma Benwell on

    I am curious as to who helped all these applicants apply for CERB in the first place. I dont think anyone who has that little understanding of filing a tax return would be savvy enough to open the online account and go through the application process.

  21. Posted by Tom j on

    Treaty rights don’t back off when Canada struggles – the government and companies hire and hand out royalties to community’s,, blockades of rail , stand offs
    Well the indigenous communities keep in touch in groups , fb and media no mistake a lady months ago was worried about her community people collecting cerb, the alcohol and drug traffickers were looming by to collect money for products

    I guess the indigenous communities can ask the. First Nations groups with money to buy into pipelines and fisheries for money to help pay back the cerb taxes and or all of it back

  22. Posted by Peter on

    I cannot express how great it is to read all these comments. It’s about time people were held accountable and that hopefully the government will agree and stop shoveling money to people who so blatantly waste it.
    Thank you to all the posters!

  23. Posted by Homegrown on

    I cant believe what I am hearing. It’s obvious we live in a greedy me me me society. First of all the Info. Was ambiguous at best: people on all types of support systems including ontario works were told to apply. Also, they kept changing and modifying their info.every day or so. The cra and other government agency were telling people they qualified; helping to reassure any doubts.also, who gives money out and doesnt do corrections sooner then later: they waited 10 months and then they start going after people; really? All that time did was to give reassurance of qualification .
    Who in their right mind comes after “bad people” 10 months after the money has been given; normally, you would find the mistake a month or two afterwards.

    Think about it, there are many people through no fault of their own are living in poverty and need help.
    Do you really think that just helping people that earned min.5000 by giving them 2000 per month is right and anyone that falls under the 5000 min. Due to no fault of their own deserves nothing but their 1200 to 1400 per month on
    O.w. or disability, think that is fare? I don’t!
    These are your brothers and sisters having to go to food banks!
    Eat less healthy foods cause they cannot afford healthy foods.
    The true RIGHT thing to do is to forgive the debts; also ,
    to develop a new basic minimal wage say e.g. 2000 for everyone.
    This would also help the economy aswell with more money for the poor to purchase items and contribute rather then needing hand outs kn the free food line ups at the co.munity care officea;in which, by the way the gov. Is contributing funds to.
    So ther you have it:
    The government knows the needs are there, there just afraid to help the poor on the level of equality due to knowing fully that there are too many selfish greedy people out there more worried about where there tax dollars are going to and of course also worried about the vote

    • Posted by Under Siege on

      I am one of the lucky ones that continued to work through the shutdowns, and I realize that I was only a few circumstances away from being without a job like a lot of other people; so I’m grateful for where I am, and I have no problem with CERB, and no problem helping people. I do have a problem with those that knowingly committed fraud, and used that money for drugs, smokes and booze. There was a lot of that, and we need to call it as it is. It should be paid back, there should be consequences.

    • Posted by Stacie on

      Nicely said. Glad to see that there is still human beings in this world that we are in. THANK YOU.

  24. Posted by Eta Kanayuk on

    Do people know that a good bulk of “our” taxed dollars go outside of Canada as aid?? So my question is why is it okay for Canada to provide aid without any questions from the public to countries in need but it’s not okay for Canadians in need to access aid from their own country, especially during a pandemic?? Why does this surprise me, I shouldn’t be.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      No, just not true.
      Canadian foreign aid amounts to approximately 1.8% of our federal budget. I don’t think that 1.8% can be considered “the bulk” of our tax dollars.
      Canadian foreign aid can take many forms, such as the Canadian government buying grain from Canadian farmers and shipping that to the foreign country. Canada may also provide aid in the form of personnel and expertise.

  25. Posted by Brian Fode on

    As a senior trying to live on a fixed income and having to live off the food bank which is not near enough you try to get by on three rolls of toilet paper no paper supplies at all after rent utilities there is no money that’s for a month when verb rolled out I was told to phone and apply no one ever said anything about repayment all those that have jobs would not have an inkling to be poor thank god for the foodl banks and the generosity of businesses and private individuals it boils down to the haves and have nots not fair to the poor and elder

    • Posted by S Sm on

      I can not tell whether you applied for CERB or didn’t from they way you have written your comment. Pension income alone would not have qualified you for CERB. Actually I can’t comprehend anything else in your post.

  26. Posted by “Captain” Jack Sparrow on

    “Take everything you can. Give nothing back” …must’ve been the rally cheer when CERB became available through application.
    With MP Qaqqaq saying that “it’s just wrong”….expecting people to return funds they were not eligible for sounds like pandering for votes next election time…
    (…just thinking out loud…) 🙂

  27. Posted by Diana Mckay on

    Well it will be real interesting to see how this all works out. I have heard of many people choosing to be on Cerb and not work. Employers are now having problems hiring people because people would rather collect Cerb. So good luck 👍

  28. Posted by Peter a am on

    Why should they get a break they lied and stole doesn’t matter how old you are that is no reason to be ignorant and steal when you did not qualify to bad you can pay it back why should the rest of us pay for your theft

  29. Posted by strawman on

    Forgiving the debt sets a pretty terrible precedent. In case of crisis, take a bigger piece because we can always pull the pity card later on. The MP office has your back, absolve yourself of accountability.

    • Posted by Tina Lynn Leblanc on

      When applying to CERB I called Revenue Canada every month before I applied. Two employees told me they were not sure if zi qualified but to apply anyway and not to go without. Two other employees thought that I would be okay so I continued to apply. Now I’m told that I have prove my earnings or repay the money. Maybe they should train their employees better. If the Inuit got money they didnt know if the were qualified for they should pay it back, they were smart enough to use the computer to apply with.

  30. Posted by Umingmak on

    The Premier was on TV every day saying “only take CERB if you actually qualify for it. If you don’t qualify, you will have to pay it back”.

    “Ignorance” is a nonsensical excuse. These people knew what they were doing, and they should face the consequences of their actions.

    • Posted by Kaitak on

      I agree, lazy people who applied CERB even though they are NOT qualified should be punished, Hard workers who didn’t apply CERB should be respected because during pandemic, they risked their lives. Whether they knew or being dumb, every applicant must face hard times because its not free money.

  31. Posted by Amazed on

    I am amazed at the greed in this responses. Any program that gives to the wealthy so they can upkeep their greedy lifestyle and denies poor people some relief is just simple wrong.

    • Posted by Farrah on

      There was no denying. People who needed it and were eligible received it. It was suppose to be a program of last resort. If you were not eligible it was because you likely didn’t need it as much as those that were eligible. It’s not free money.

  32. Posted by Gene on

    It was stated if you weren’t entitled you would have to pay it back. if people that got it wrongfully and don’t have topay it back. PEople who didn’t get it should also be entitled. we all struggle but most of us tried to follow rules if you wernt sure if you qualified you shouldn’t have applied

  33. Posted by julia on

    CRA,Will get this money back no matterwhat,and all this political granstanding by these politicians,is face saving so they can say to the people who received it and did not qualify,i tried,anybody who has dealt with CRA,KNOWS THIS,

  34. Posted by Amazed on

    Here,s an interesting question in response To all the negativity. When I applied to income support for help I was told to sell everything I own and use the income from that. And if I was still in need after that they may be able to give us 600.00 a month. Why weren’t the legal recipients of CERB asked to do the same?

  35. Posted by Amazed on

    I keep hearing the same thing over and over. People were told by premier and CRA that if you don,t quaulify then you shouldn’t have applied. I read the same messages and every one of the responses supporting no repayment were very clear that no one was able to give them clear guidance when it came to the requirements. So to be told to not apply if you did not qualify was absolutely useless.

  36. Posted by Hunter on

    I agree they shall pay it back. My God you got healthy/energetic residents which dont work and abusing the system by buying drugs and bottles or vehicle rentals in Cambridge Bay.

  37. Posted by Why the big surprise, everybody? on

    Things like this have been happening in Nunavut for decades.
    Certain “entitled” people get free housing, free machines from HTA , free courses and
    lord knows what. All due to nepotism and “I don’t know” B.S.
    People refuse to pay bills and rents because the southern experts let them away with it,
    year after year. Inuit have been conditioned not to pay.
    Reap what you have sown, leaders &r experts.

  38. Posted by Nu res on

    The premier was stated over and over again on Nunatsiaq news, Igalaaq and other news sources that this money would have to be paid back if you were not eligible. I was next to a person when this was on air, this person collected CERB and never worked a day in his/her life and still collected welfare same time. His/her response “Can’t take blood from a stone. Let’s go to B&W line up.”

  39. Posted by One More on

    Isn’t it interesting how all those people who claimed to “not know” somehow very quickly found out about CERB and had no problem applying for it online, but despite all the PSA’s on various media platforms telling people not to apply if they didn’t qualify, those announcements they didn’t hear or know about. They just ignored those and applied anyways ie FRAUD. Read the CRA page on elligibilty….

  40. Posted by iWonder on

    In my opinion we are looking at an almost perfect confluence of:

    1. Bad faith and unscrupulous actors
    2. True poverty and desperation (the least addressed variable here)
    2. Naïve and paternalistic enablers willing to deny truth and point fingers where most convenient
    3. Government incompetence.

    When members of our leadership decry the coming hardship for those who have to repay on their orgy of spending, they are correct. It will be a hardship. But is this the correct way to be viewing this issue?

    When a person goes to jail, that is a hardship. When someone is forced to pay a fine for breaking some local bylaw, that too becomes a hardship. We don’t expect anyone to swoop in and prevent the imposition of hardships here.

    Of course, this argument is not quite the same. We are told this was all a misunderstanding and that those to took CERB when they should not have were simply ill informed; they were, in a very real way, victims of their own ignorance. For most of us this is not a plausible view, and for good reason. It’s probably not true. Though there may such elements within the broader picture, I can’t believe this constitutes the larger picture itself.

    Let’s switch gears. Putting a giant and almost completely unregulated pot of money on the floor and telling people who are desperately poor and on the economic margins not to touch will lead to a predictable outcome. Yet this is not the entire ‘big picture’ either. Many people all over the country sniffed an opportunity they could not pass up. This too was predictable and suggests the government is not entirely blameless.

    This could have been done better and the rapid timeline is not a believable excuse. The lockdown in Wuhan began January 26th. CERB was launched in early April.

    Could no one in government see these issues coming? The rest of us could.

    • Posted by iWonder why I can’t count on

      Darn, I really screwed those numbers up! D’oh, time to hire an editor.

  41. Posted by OMG on

    Dont fret fellow canadians
    Mr Trudeau will forgive the Inuit…matter of fact ..all he does is shell money to the indigenous community…its what gets him votes from the bleeding hearts in our country

  42. Posted by Umilik on

    Perhaps now is the time that someone call-up QIA see if their various free-money initiatives will have created the need to issue t-slips for the recipients.


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