Canadians who died before the pandemic began in Canada received over $9.2 million in pandemic benefits last year.

First reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, Employment and Social Development Canada recently revealed that $9,208,500 in pandemic tax credits were paid out to people who had died before March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

The department says they will review the recipients of the tax credits to determine who needs to repay.

“The department will undertake a post payment review to determine whether there are any overpayments,” department staff wrote. 

The payments occurred after parliament passed Bill C-20 An Act Respecting Further COVID-19 Measures, in July 2020 which gave $600 in tax credits to around 1.7 million qualifying Canadians.

In their report, government staff blamed the families of deceased individuals for not informing the government of their loved ones’ death.

“In some cases information for persons with disabilities may not have been up to date because the government did not receive the individual’s updated personal information,” staff wrote. 

“Much like the need for clients to update their personal information with each department for their specific programs, death-related information would also need to be updated by relatives or the estate.”

Over the course of 2020, the federal government paid out huge sums in benefits to individuals which may not have been eligible. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough has admitted that tax filing and repayments will be difficult for Canadians.

Last year, the government gave Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to 824,000 people, even to individuals who were ineligible. Tens of thousands of people who earned over $100,000 in 2019 also received pandemic benefits.

Children between the ages of 15 and 18 also received $636 million through CERB, regardless of if they ever held a job.

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