‘Pretty scary’: Edmonton woman launches petition after being asked to pay back $12K in CERB benefits

'Pretty scary': Edmonton woman launches petition after being asked to pay back $12K in CERB benefits

EDMONTON —
An Edmonton woman’s online petition to stop federal government from clawing back CERB payments made to Canadians who suffered income loss during the pandemic has been signed by more than 35,000 people.

Avery Miller is a self-employed yoga instructor who found out earlier this month that after receiving CERB for most of the year since April, she wasn’t eligible for the money.

“I was not eligible to receive those benefits because I was supposed to instinctively know that I was supposed to use my net income rather than my gross income, and I would have to repay the $12,000 that I had applied for,” she told CTV News Edmonton.

The CERB application states that applicants must have made $5,000 in 2019, but does not state whether or not that’s gross or net income.

She says a Canada Revenue Agency spokesperson also told her to think about paying back the money before the end of December to avoid paying any penalties.

So upset with her situation, Miller started a petition to keep the federal government from clawing back the money.

While Prime Minister Trudeau insists affected Canadians won’t be asked to repay the money over the holidays, that’s not good enough for Miller.

“We are literally just taking this $500 a week and scraping by, and now to think about having to pay back this $12,000 over the next few years is pretty scary.”

Miller says there are other petitions circulating and pointed to an agreement by a Vancouver Island Green Party MP Paul Manly has agreed to present another one to the House of Commons in late January.

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The CRA admitted on Friday that the application wasn’t clear when CERB was first launched.

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