Complaints about seeming delays in Canada Emergency Response Benefit claims have flooded social media this week, with the CERB acronym trending on Twitter both Wednesday and Thursday.
Many CERB recipients have been accustomed to receiving direct deposit payments within 48 hours of reapplying for the benefit, leading to questions from those who reapplied on Monday about why they still did not have payments on Thursday.
“I cannot believe that the CRA did not release a statement yesterday morning when this happened and just let chaos go across social media with everybody freaking out,” Stephanie McKinnon, a CERB recipient from Toronto, told CTV News.
However, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)'s service standard is to issue these payments within three to five business days – meaning a payment is not considered late if it arrives within one week of the application.
A CRA spokesperson said Thursday that the agency "expects that the vast majority [of] payments will be issued within this time frame."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Thursday that there have been some delays this month, while speaking during a virtual visit to Atlantic Canada.
"We're working through some of the challenges because there was an extension," Trudeau said in an interview with Paddy Daly of radio station VOCM in St. John's, N.L.
"There might be a couple little hiccups, but we have said from the beginning we'd be there for Canadians and we will continue to be there for them."
For payments by cheque, the CRA service standard is 10 days.September 3, 2020
Did anyone still not receive their CERB payment today? I still haven't. Its been over 3 days now.— Tammy Alspaugh (@scorpio_Tamsin) September 3, 2020
Cerb cerb cerb waiting on you #CERB— Edwin Dalmeida (@DalmeidaEdwin) September 3, 2020
An official speaking on background told CTV News that the CRA has added new due diligence measures to ensure the payments are reaching the correct bank accounts, and that the funds will be going out Thursday and arriving in bank accounts on Friday.
Many stories of so-called "CERB fraud" have emerged in recent weeks, with Canadians reporting attempts to switch the destination for their payments or being notified that they were approved for the benefit even though they had never applied for it.
The CRA revealed last month that two cyberattacks had resulted in some 5,500 CRA accounts being targeted, some of which were used to access online government services.
Meanwhile, some are concerned similar struggles will continue next month as well, when around a million Canadians transition off CERB and onto other government programs.
“A lot of Canadians are going to find that the new systems, even though they’re likely to qualify for them, are going to pay them less,” said David Macdonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
With files from CTV News' Michel Boyer and the Canadian Press
Many Canadians say their #CERB payments haven't been deposited or there are processing delays. Here's what I've learned: out of an abundance of caution, CRA has added a layer of 'due diligence' to make sure CERB payments are being deposited into correct bank accounts. /1— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) September 3, 2020 September 3, 2020