Canada overpaid billions in Covid benefits to ineligible Canadians
by The Canadian Parvasi
Canada’s Auditor General Karen Hogan, in a report on Tuesday, said that the federal government’s decision to not front-end verify led to the government paying $4.6 billion in overpayments to ineligible persons.
Back in 2020, the Justin Trudeau-led Government announced emergency measures including wage and rent subsidies to make up for the financial setback caused by the pandemic.
A performance audit presented in the House of Commons on Tuesday found that $211 billion were spent by the federal government on Covid-related aid. The Auditor General’s Office claimed that Canada Revenue Agency and Employment and Social Development Canada are “falling Short” in post-payment verification.
“I am concerned about the lack of rigour on post-payment verifications and collection activities,” said Hogan in a statement.
“They decided early on to focus less on confirming the eligibility of applicants up front and more on reviewing eligibility after payments were issued and recovering overpayments or payments made to ineligible recipients,” read a statement by the Office of The Auditor General.
“We found that the department and agency’s approach to limit pre-payment controls, as well as the lack of timely data at the time of application, resulted in a significant amount of payments made to recipients who were ineligible or whose eligibility needs to be verified. We found $4.6 billion of overpayments made to ineligible recipients of benefits for individuals,” the statement read further.
The report also stated that at least $27.4 billion paid to “individuals and employers should be investigated further.”
The report did, however, mention that approximately $2.3 billion has been recuperated, according to the information provided by the Employment and Social Development department and Canada Revenue agency.