OTTAWA — The Commons finance committee has been told that harsh sanctions being sought for fraudulent Canada Emergency Response Benefit claims would target organized crime and identity thieves that have received the monthly payments.
A Canada Revenue Agency official says federal systems have already flagged a number of potential fraudulent applications for the $2,000-a-month CERB, including people involved in criminal activity that have now targeted the pandemic-aid program.
Ted Gallivan, the agency’s assistant commissioner in charge of compliance, says about five people already under a joint police-CRA investigation for other reasons are now being looked at for CERB fraud.
The agency is receiving leads on possible fraud and has “a number” of joint operations with local police, but Gallivan says it wants the power to go after fraudsters.
Earlier this week, the Liberals were unable to get unanimous agreement from the opposition parties to swiftly pass a bill that included a set of fines and jail times for CERB fraud.
Gallivan says the measures being sought would target people who have filed hundreds of fraudulent claims, such as those who have reportedly gone into retirement homes to have seniors sign up for the benefit.