Philip Lawrence, Conservative Shadow Minister for National Revenue sent a letter to the Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, regarding an issue with the Workshare Program:
September 10, 2020
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier
Minister of National Revenue
House of Commons
Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6
Today I am writing to inform you about an important issue with the Workshare Program that has caused undue financial stress for many Canadians.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, many businesses were forced to lay off workers as early as March 2020. With no source of income, the recently unemployed turned to the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program for financial support.
Soon after, many companies began to apply for the Workshare program, in which Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are provided to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. With the expansion of the Workshare program, many companies who applied and were accepted into the program began to hire back previously laid off workers.
The problem we’re hearing from many desperate businesses and workers is that many employees still haven’t begun to receive their EI benefits yet, up to 6 months later.
The reason for this is simple. After an eligible worker has registered with CERB they are no longer able to receive EI benefits under the workshare program. How is this possible? Due to government oversight, those who registered for CERB through the CRA are unable to have their file transferred over to Service Canada to receive Employment Insurance under the Workshare Program.
Service Canada has the files ready and hardworking employees are ready to finally receive their retroactive benefits. The CRA has informed me that they are simply waiting on a
signature to move forward.
I am writing to you today, Minister, with a few simple questions. Why is it taking so long for hardworking employees to receive a paycheck? Whose signature are they waiting on?
When can they expect the money in their accounts?
Philip Lawrence, M.P., Northumberland—Peterborough South Official Opposition Shadow Minister for National Revenue