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Results: 1 - 15 of 448
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much. Thank you for your time today. I appreciate the witnesses' testimony there so far.
My questions will start with Mr. Hamilton.
For your benefit, Mr. Hamilton, I'm going to be referring to pages starting at page 276 in the documents, as I have them, and going to page 280.
On page 277, it says that there was about $77 billion of CERB payments and there was a total potential exposure of tax risk of up to $20 billion. I understand that to be the amount of money the CRA would suspect that they would collect against these CERB benefits. Is that correct, Mr. Hamilton?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, that's no problem. That's why I wanted to give you a heads-up. I tried to stall there for you, Mr. Hamilton.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
That's actually my next question. I'm wondering if time has started to tell, as it were, as a majority of Canadians have now filed their tax returns. How much in tax revenue did you actually collect on the CERB benefits, if you have those numbers? If not, I assume that's a number you could access for us.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Perfect.
Further to that, you said that there was $1 billion considered at risk of default. I'm wondering if you gentlemen would be kind enough to unpack what that means. Does that mean that Canadians are just not paying their taxes, or what was the risk that you highlighted there?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm sorry. I didn't quite follow that last comment. It intrigues me a bit that you needed 50 people or 5,000. Do you mean in collecting the taxation?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
As per the earlier question, I'd like to know what the actual amount defaulted was, even if you have a partial number. I realize that you may not have it with you today, but perhaps we could get that within three or four weeks, or whatever the standard is for our committee. I'm sure the chair could direct us. It's just to get that number on where we are right now. I understand that not everyone has their tax filing in.
Would that be appropriate?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you. I appreciate that.
Then, because I'm a Luddite and still using paper here, if I flip the page, I have on page 278 a large portion of redacted documents underneath “Findings”.
Some of the redactions clearly make sense. There are names and there are technological services that you can sort of read into, and I understand why the minister would not give this away, but this redaction doesn't make any sense to me prima facie, and I'm wondering if you can provide me with some information to reassure me that this is a reasonable redaction here.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, I can come back. I'll be in the next slot, so I will come back and ask this question again.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Hamilton, we'll just go back to where we were. I will remind you that on page 278 there, underneath "Findings", there's a paragraph that's completely redacted. If you can't provide me with what's in that paragraph, I'm hopeful that you can provide me with some of the reasons it was redacted.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
No, I think that's fine. My time is short here, and I do appreciate that answer.
With respect, I understand that there is an obligation, obviously, to enforce and collect, but there's also an equally important obligation to be transparent and report that back to our taxpayers.
On that same page, page 278, another thing that I found of interest was that it said that three million CERB recipients, or almost 40%, had an employer who received the CEWS, and they put the risk of double-dipping high in the report.
I would love to hear, if not now, if that concern was validated by the findings. How is it possible that an employer could be getting CEWS while an employee is getting CERB?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
However, that's something you will be doing. Fair enough.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
With respect to the CEWS, there was an audit, or at least a pilot of an audit. We actually had an opposition motion against bringing that forward, because it was quite taxing on our small business owners during the pandemic. However, I saw that quite a few of your projections were reliant on those CEWS pilots coming on for post-validation.
What is the plan now? Will we be going forward with a similar audit that, as you said, had pages and pages and was extremely cumbersome for small business owners during a pandemic? What is the solution, now that it appears you've abandoned that pilot?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
My question is to Mr. Gallivan, and of course Mr. Hamilton is welcome to comment as well.
I want to build on what my esteemed colleague Mr. Fergus said when he was asking about the 5% default rate, because I was struck by something, and I thank him for his excellent questioning.
Is that 5% default rate based on just everyone, from the highest economic standpoint to the lowest, and not reflective of there being a pandemic? I have a suspicion that this number will be maybe double or even triple that, due to the pandemic and due to these benefits oftentimes being paid to some of the people dealing with the largest economic challenges.
Can you comment on that? Maybe you're going to tell me I'm way off, but I suspect that I'll be validated.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Perfect. Thank you very much.
On that as well, I'll tell you—and this is just anecdotal, and anecdotal evidence is never as strong as empirical—I've had a number of people come into my constituency office who didn't hit that $5,000 threshold. They got caught up in the CERB thing. To be candid, I don't think your department did a very good job of communicating who could and who didn't. I don't say that from my perspective; that's my constituent speaking.
He didn't make the $5,000. He got caught up. He applied and he got it for a year and more. This particular individual I'm talking about hasn't ever made over $5,000 in his life, and I don't see any way that he's ever going to pay it back. Quite frankly, the compassionate human being in me tells me that I don't really want to be forcing him to pay it back.
Can you comment on individuals like that and how CRA will treat people like that?
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
Sorry, Chair; were you going to—
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