On Wednesday and Thursday, the CERB acronym was trending on Twitter after criticisms on what seems to be delays in Canada Emergency Response Benefit claims flooded social media this week. There were questions from those who reapplied on Monday about why they still did not have payments on Thursday after many CERB recipients had been accustomed to receiving direct deposit payments within 48 hours of reapplying for the benefit.
Stephanie McKinnon, a CERB recipient from Toronto, said he could not believe that the CRA did not release a statement that morning when it happened and just let chaos go across social media with everybody freaking out. Nevertheless, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)’s service standard is to give those payments in three to five business days. This means payment will not be considered late if it arrives within one week of the application.
On Thursday, a CRA spokesperson stated that the agency “expects that the vast majority [of] payments will be issued within this time frame.” The same day, while speaking during a virtual visit to Atlantic Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted that there had been some delays this month. Trudeau said in an interview with Paddy Daly of radio station VOCM in St. John’s, N.L. that they are working through some of the challenges because there was an extension.
He added that they had said they would be there for Canadians, and they will continue to be there for them though there might be a couple of little hiccups. The CRA service standard is ten days for payments by cheque. To make sure the payments are hitting the correct bank accounts, an anonymous official said that the CRA has included new due diligence procedures and that the money would be going out Thursday and reflecting in bank accounts on Friday.
In recent weeks, several stories of so-called “CERB fraud” have appeared with Canadians reporting efforts for being notified that they were approved for the benefit even though they had never applied for it or switch the destination for their payments. Last week, the CRA indicated last month that two cyber-attacks had resulted in some 5,500 CRA accounts being targeted. In the meantime, people were worried related struggles would continue next month as well when about a million Canadians transition off CERB and onto other government programs.