Callers flood CRA with benefits questions


OTTAWA – The Canada Revenue Agency says it fielded more than a million phone calls on the day that increased child benefits took effect.

An agency spokesman says many callers had to be directed to check their mailboxes when they called to ask about their money, which in some cases amounted to more than $500.

Philippe Brideau says the majority of callers wanted to know how they were going to be paid — especially if they received other benefits through direct deposit.

The July 20 payouts for the expanded universal child care benefit increased the monthly payments to $160 from $100 for every child under age six.

They also added a new $60 monthly payment for children six to 17.

The July payout included benefits retroactive to Jan. 1.

In the month leading up to the payment, 9,677 callers phoned the government to ask about benefit. Many wanted to know why they hadn’t received their money.

Marie-France Faucher, a spokeswoman for Employment and Social Development Canada, said there were also questions about how much of the benefit would be taxed back.

The new payments are taxable on the lower income earner in the household at a federal rate of about 11.5 per cent.

The federal government expects to recoup about $565 million of the benefit payments in taxes, with the provinces expected to take in about half that through their own taxes.
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