OTTAWA — The Green Party of Canada welcomes the announcement that the federal government will end its unfair and cruel Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) clawbacks. for self-employed individuals whose net self-employment income was less than $5,000 and who applied for this necessary benefit.
As recently as February 3, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul appeared alongside CERB advocate and recipient Tammy Seed calling on the government and Employment Minister Qualtrough to end the CERB clawbacks.
“The Green Party was first to ring the alarm, as soon as we learned of the government’s plan to demand repayment from self-employed people who applied for the CERB in good faith and were given incorrect income eligibility information,” said Ms. Paul. “For months, we have persisted in our demand that the government own up to, and fix, a mistake which threw hundreds of thousands of Canadians into uncertainty in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic.”
The Green Party has been leading the effort to help recipients seek remedy, including:
- A Green Party News Release - Sat Dec 5, 2020 - Green Party issues urgent release highlighting need for compassion on CERB;
- Letter to Prime Minister and Minister from Green MPs - Sat Dec 5, 2020
- Question on CERB clawback, MP Paul Manly - Dec. 11, 2020 - Video here.
- Letter to Ministers from MPs Elizabeth May and Paul Manly - Wed Dec 17 2020 - attached.
- Town Hall on the CERB/CRA - Thurs Dec 18, 2020 - featured half-dozen first hand accounts, video here.
- Petition from MP Paul Manly - Christmas Eve 2020 - petition here, attracts nearly 8K signatures;
- Press Conference on the CERB with Green Caucus - Tues January 13, 2021 - video here.
- News Release - Sun Jan 24, 2021 - Green Party urges focus before Parliament begins anew;
- Debate on CERB clawback, MP Paul Manly - Jan. 27, 2021 - video here
- Press Conference on the CERB with CERB advocate Tammy Seed - Wed. February 3 (video here)
“After months of anxiety for recipients, we are very gratified to see a just result for many people – pensioners, artists, and caregivers among them – who followed the rules and then were told they would have to make a full repayment,” said Ms. Paul. “Nevertheless, it should not have taken so much advocacy, and threats of a class action, for the government to do the right thing and reverse its position.
“Today’s announcement is also a testament to the courage of the Union of Taxation Employees who blew the whistle and the many tireless CERB advocates who continued to fight for fairness. We were proud to stand alongside them and to lend our voice to theirs.
“As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, the Green Party will always be there to make sure no one falls through the cracks and to hold the Prime Minister and the government to their promise to protect Canadians ‘whatever it takes, for as long as it takes’,” concluded Ms. Paul.
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