Many people envy the idea of tripling their monthly income. This is what a couple from Soulanges experienced when the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) came into effect.

Covid-19 is a terrible enemy. Its appearance in Canada was taken seriously. The two levels of government have joined forces to provide citizens with access to a source of income while trying to keep part of the economy open. However, it would be wrong to believe that all Canadians have been significantly affected by the measures put in place. In fact, some have even seen their source of income increase significantly.

Réjean and Monique (fictitious names) have been in a relationship for several years. The couple which lived on welfare with their four children were receiving about $ 1,800. Family allowance payments are added to this amount. However, last April, the couple’s income really exploded.

“As we worked in 2019 and our annual income was greater than $ 5,000, we applied to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), explains Réjean who demands that his identity be confidential for obvious reasons, in exchange for his testimony. So my wife and I each received $ 2000 per month. The Canada Child Benefit increased on one occasion by $ 300 for each of our children. So that month the deposit was $ 1200 higher. Seriously, we have seen a rise in our standard of living. Without wanting to be pretentious, I was able to afford some family activities that I never thought were possible.”

As if that wasn’t enough already, Réjean worked full time during the summer for a landscaping company. “I know the owner, said the man in his forties. He was unable to hire students as they received $ 1,300 per month for student CERB. So, I volunteered to work, but without being declared to the government. He paid me $ 10 an hour and I worked 50 to 60 hours a week.”

It’s hard to agree with Réjean’s way of thinking. Besides, he does not consider his way of doing things a fraud. For him, it is about a financial opportunity that he has seized. “I did not beg anyone, confirms Réjean. The program was designed and I met the prerequisites to access it. I had the right to quit welfare to get CERB. Even for my job, I don’t see it as fraud. I helped an entrepreneur while agreeing to be paid less than minimum wage. It is important not to think that I am the only one to have worked while receiving CERB. I invite people who don’t believe me to look around. Several people have done this.”

Questioned in order to know his annual income, Réjean is transparent. “In 6 months, we received more than $ 60,000, confirms the father of four children. This obviously includes my summer salary. We really spoiled ourselves. The children got new clothes and new toys. We bought furniture and I bought myself a motorcycle. Seriously, it wasn’t with the little money we received from welfare that we could have had this. For six months we lived a relatively normal life rather than having to survive.”

When it comes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you inevitably have to pay the related taxes. For this, Réjean does not say he is worried. “I just went back on welfare. For the taxes in 2021, I will have two options. I can make a payment arrangement or let it go. The government will still be able to pay itself with what I usually collect as a GST rebate.”

Finally, Réjean impatiently awaits the first snowstorm. “In the winter I work for a snow removal company and I pay taxes. To be honest, before the last six months I had never had the opportunity to make so much money quickly. I did and if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. I didn’t kill anyone. Also, with the amount of purchases we made, we put some of the money back in the government’s pocket because like everyone else, we paid taxes.”

Steve Sauvé

Steve Sauvé


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