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Kevin Connor Publishing date: Jul 14, 2022
Statistics Canada says hundreds of thousands of teenaged students received payments of up to $5,000, which was money intended for COVID relief aid for jobless taxpayers facing eviction or foreclosure, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Access to Information documents show in 2021 a total $636 million was paid to high schoolers.

“Pandemic related benefits included new programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit,” said André Bernard, StatsCan chief of income statistics.

The payments were based on the Census.

“The Census is uniquely positioned to assess the impacts of the pandemic on incomes of Canadians … tell us what happened in 2020,” Bernard said.

Data shows Canadians aged 15 to 19 — a total 25% of girls and 22% of boys — claimed federal relief cheques.

“Many received payments from government income support programs,” said Bernard.

In March 25, 2020, Parliament enacted the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act to issue $2,000-a month cheques to jobless taxpayers.

The act allowed payments to teenagers as young as 15 but they needed to provide a tax return the previous year.

Blacklocks say records showed federal authorities gave payments without confirming applicants were tax filers.

Payments included $81.3 million in pandemic relief cheques to children aged 15, a total $185.6 million to children aged 16 and $369.2 million to children aged 17.

“If the government had not done that back then what would have been the outcome?” Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, parliamentary secretary to the Government House Leader, told the Commons on Jan. 25, 2021.

“We would have had more people borrowing money because of their loss of income. We would have had people not being able to pay for basic needs such as their groceries, their rent, their mortgages.”

Critics said the payments to high school students was misdirected.

“God love the 15-year old who got a $2,000-a month CERB cheque courtesy of taxpayers but I think that money would be better spent on First Nations suffering,” said Conservative MP Kelly McCauley.