The Canada Revenue Agency has received nearly 190,000 repayments for coronavirus relief benefits some Canadians received through an emergency aid program that they weren’t entitled to get.

And, as of June 1, the tax agency has also received 600 tips about potential abuse or fraud of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which the government launched earlier this spring in order to support people who lost work and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a government spokesperson confirmed.

The CERB provides eligible applicants with $2,000 every four weeks, retroactive to mid-March, for a maximum of 16 weeks. Both the tax agency and Service Canada, which handles the federal employment insurance (EI) program, are the federal departments responsible for distributing the cheques.

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Federal officials admitted at the time that all CERB applications through the CRA would be automatically approved  — whether or not the applicants qualified for the funding — and they were leaving it up to Canadians to answer the online CERB attestation honestly.

CRA officials would verify the claimants’ information later and make sure people “didn’t game the system,” Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said back in April.

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