Feds look at using border data to find travellers applying for sickness benefit

Parliament Hill

A federal official says the government is considering using data on incoming travellers to prevent returning vacationers from using a special benefit for people who must quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.
    
The government promised earlier this week to introduce legislation to prevent anyone who returned from abroad for non-essential reasons from receiving the benefit during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
    
The source says officials are drafting the legislation and expect it to include information-sharing mechanisms among agencies and departments to identify anyone looking to flout the rules.
    
The Canadian Press isn't identifying the source because the person was not authorized to speak publicly on behind-the-scenes discussions.
    
It wouldn't take much to for the government to match names of incoming travellers with applicants for the sickness benefit after officials updated a similar program in the last year.
    
That program now sees roughly 20 million names of anyone arriving by land or air shared with Employment and Social Development Canada to help its investigators identify improper payments of unemployment and seniors benefits.