If you mistakenly applied to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you will not face jail time or fines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Tuesday.
However, there will be punishment for criminals who try to take advantage of the programs, which also include the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
During his daily address on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said that there will be changes to all the federal government programs as the pandemic evolves and the country goes back to normal.
“We will continue to do that, change things as we go along,” he said, referring to the benefits and Canadians transitioning back into work.
Trudeau said the government tried to send out financial assistance to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
“If we made things too complicated, if we ensured a lot of checks, we would never have got the cheques out in a few weeks to millions of Canadians who desperately needed the money,” said Trudeau.
He also added that the government knew they would have to introduce measures “to correct mistakes” after the fact.
“Now there may be a number of people who mistakenly took both the CERB and the wage subsidy because they weren’t sure what they were going to do,” Trudeau continued.
“Those people will simply have to pay back the one that they shouldn’t have taken.”
Reports suggest a draft copy of a CERB bill that has not been introduced to Parliament yet was leaked on Monday.
The draft bill outlined fines and imprisonment in reference to CERB violations.
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has since responded to the draft copy, claiming he would not be in favour of a bill that would punish Canadians who applied for financial aid during a pandemic.