PCU has already been harassed by the Central Government for amounts already refunded

PCU has already been harassed by the Central Government for amounts already refunded

However, the federal government is making life difficult for two Quebecers who showed good faith by promptly repaying PCU amounts they received in error at the start of the pandemic.

• Read more: Wealthy young people in Quebec see 34% increase in income thanks to PCU

• Read more: Everything you need to know about CERB repayment

“What annoys me the most about this is that it’s my money. I didn’t steal it from anyone,” Martin Belanger denounces.

In the spring of 2020, like millions of Canadians, Mr. Belanger also benefited from the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The problem is, Ottawa made a mistake and sent him two payments of $2,000 instead of one.

In August 2020, a Quebec resident took the initiative to repay the government $2,000 he overpaid.



Martin Belanger

Photo courtesy of Martin Belanger

“Debt Notice”

This did not stop him from receiving a letter in April 2022 from the Department of Employment and Social Development (ESDC) calling for a $2,000 “debt notice” to the government.

Martin Belanger called Service Canada to correct this new bureaucratic error, but to no avail. He kept getting “debt notices” from the government every three months.

He hasn’t seen anything yet. In April, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) found a way to “solve” the matter: Mr. Bélanger’s income tax return.

“Believe it or not, they paid me back from the $1,951.65 they owed me,” he laments. In fact, since his “debt” was $2,000, according to the ESDC document, Martin Belanger still owes the government $48.35!

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Mr. Belanger finds Ottawa has repaid him twice the $2,000 overpayment.

“The last time I called, what the lady told me was that there were special agents who were taking care of these files,” he said discouragingly.

In the fog

It was the same dismay at Boucherville for 20-year-old Julian Cardinal. In the spring of 2020, he received a PCU of $2,000 to which he was not entitled.

In June 2022, he received a letter from the Govt.

“I was stubborn and I paid back,” says his mother, Nancy Colagiacomo. She made the payment from her personal bank account with reference to her son’s “identification number” (his social insurance number).

“I don’t find it funny because my boy is being harassed by the letters,” she said. The money is missing and they can’t tell where it is. It’s like he’s choking,” worries M.me Colagiacomo.

“I don’t want my boy to have problems later,” she adds. He is young and just starting his career. I don’t want him to have problems with the revenue agency.

Neither CRA nor ESDC could respond Newspaper tuesday

According to the Auditor General, at least $4.6 billion was overpaid out of about $110 billion (including $75 billion in the form of CERB) paid in emergency benefits related to COVID-19. A year ago, Ottawa recovered half of this amount.

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