Employment Law

CRA fires 120 employees, staff ‘inappropriately claimed’ CERB

A photo of a person working at a desk covered in multiple items. (Photo: charlesdeluvio / Unsplash

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has fired dozens of employees who “inappropriately claimed the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to news outlets, including CTV News, the agency said in a statement on Sept. 1 that “120 individuals are no longer with the CRA.”

“The CRA takes any form of wrongdoing very seriously, and is strongly committed to protecting the integrity of Canada’s tax and benefit systems and demonstrating to Canadians that [we are] a trusted and fair organization,” the statement reads.

“When misconduct is identified, we ensure that the appropriate actions are taken to address it.”

The update comes just months after the CRA announced in June that it had dismissed 20 staff members. At the time, the agency claimed it was investigating approximately 600 additional cases.

The CRA’s statement also noted that the actions of some “in no way undermine the honesty and integrity of the more than 60,000 CRA employees who work every day in an exemplary manner to serve Canadians.”

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Major layoffs continue

The CRA’s decision to fire 120 employees comes amid a flurry of layoffs in 2023.

Dozens of major North American companies, including RBC, Dell, Discord, Telus, Microsoft, Ritual, and Meta, are significantly scaling back their staffing levels as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

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While it remains unclear if the CRA has terminated both unionized and non-unionized workers, it’s important for non-unionized employees to understand their rights when they are fired or let go.

Employee rights during a termination

In Canada, non-unionized employees can be fired for any reason, as long as they are provided full severance pay and the reasons for their dismissal aren’t discriminatory. This is known as a termination without cause.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

However, there are some situations where companies have grounds to fire staff for cause — meaning no severance package or access to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Considered the “capital punishment” of employment law, this type of dismissal is reserved for the worst kinds of workplace offences such as:

  • Theft
  • Assault
  • Serious insubordination

To justify terminating you for cause, your boss would have to prove progressive disciplinary measures were applied and that a lesser penalty wouldn’t be acceptable, which is very hard to do.

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How is severance pay calculated?

Severance for non-unionized employees in Canada can be as much as 24 months’ pay.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

The amount of compensation you are entitled to is calculated using several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Length of service
  • Position at the company
  • Ability to find new work

To figure out how much you could be owed, use our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians determine their severance entitlements.

If your company doesn’t provide you with the correct amount, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP immediately.

We regularly resolve wrongful dismissal claims and can help you secure proper severance.

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Lost your job? Speak with an employment lawyer

If you are fired or let go for any reason, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have helped tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals resolve their workplace issues.

We can review your situation, assess your legal options, and help you secure the compensation you deserve.

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