The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters Connaught Building pictured in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters Connaught Building pictured in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

CRA watchdog finds agency taking weeks to process some claims for recovery benefits

Complaints have said the agency can take up to 10 weeks to issue a $500-a-week Canada Recovery Benefit payment

The Canada Revenue Agency is being taken to task by a federal watchdog for not being as upfront as it should be over how long it might take to process applications for pandemic aid.

The $500-a-week Canada Recovery Benefit is paid out by the agency to qualifying workers who have earned at least $5,000 in the preceding 12 months.

In most cases, the application process is quick, but in others, the agency has to do additional digging to verify eligibility.

The taxpayers’ ombudsperson said his office has received complaints that CRA call-centre agents can’t offer a timeline for when verification work will be done, leaving thousands in financial hardship.

Francois Boileau said taxpayers should be able to have more details on how long it will take the agency to verify documents so they can plan how to cover their bills like rent.

He said complaints to his office have said the agency can take up to 10 weeks to finish the process before issuing a payment.

The process differs from one that was used one year ago for the CRB’s forerunner, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Applications were quickly approved and payments issued with the government opting to do a review after-the-fact to recoup improper payments.

With the CRB, the government pushed that verification to the front of the application process, including asking for pay slips or records of employment if the agency couldn’t easily confirm that someone met the earnings threshold.

Once the documents came in, the agency started the clock.

In March, there were complaints that it could take four to six weeks for the process to play out.

More recently, it has risen to eight to 10 weeks.

The agency had differing timelines referenced on different parts of its website, but updated them to in recent days after Boileau suggested the CRA do so.

“The CRA understands that the longer processing times for these recovery benefit applications may place a financial burden on Canadians who depend on these benefits as income replacement,” the agency said in a statement.

“In some cases, processing times may be extended for unforeseeable reasons.”

The CRA says the process shouldn’t be nearly as long for anyone who filed their 2020 tax return, which would easily let the agency verify income eligibility when an application rolls in.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Most Read