The federal government paid a total of $635,980,000 in Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments to people under the age of 18, according to information obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.
Data from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) shows that a total of 317,990 applications were made by children as young as 15. A total of $81.3 million was paid to 15-year olds, $185.6 million was paid to 16-year olds and $369.2 million was paid to 17-year olds.
“Figures are stated for applicants who applied for the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account portal and the interactive voice response system,” CRA said.
“No records are available for ages 12, 13 or 14 as applicants must be age 15 or older to be eligible for this benefit.”
According to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act, anyone who is 15 years or older is considered a worker, regardless of if they have ever held a job.
As of October, the federal government paid out $81.64 billion through CERB, with a total of 8.9 million people applying for at least one payment of $2,000.
Unclear rules and little scrutiny have allowed many people who do not or should not qualify to receive thousands through CERB.
CRA provided 824,000 people who hadn’t filed their taxes with CERB benefits, despite such people being ineligible. Tens of thousands of people who earned over $100,000 in 2019 also received pandemic benefits.
In late 2020, around 441,000 Canadians received letters from the CRA stating that they may not have been eligible for the benefits they received and recommended that they pay back the CRA before the end of the year.