Tips from informants have led the [Canada Revenue Agency](https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-canada-revenue-agency) (CRA) to recover over $26 million in [penalties](https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-penalties) and incorrect payments under the federal government’s costliest [pandemic relief](https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-pandemic-relief) program—the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). According to an Inquiry of Ministry [tabled](https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/house/sitting-148/order-notice/page-10) in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Adam Chambers on Dec. 8, 2022 (first reported by [Blacklock’s Reporter](https://www.blacklocks.ca/tipsters-saved-26-1-million/)), the CRA processed 1,986 leads from the public between April 2020 and last November 25. All leads provided to the Agency were reviewed for potential non-compliance and action was taken if warranted.
Of the 1,986 leads gathered, 495 resulted in audits. About a third of those in audits (132) identified $14.5 million in false payments while “$11.6 million in penalties have been applied”—totalling $26.1 million. The remaining audits are still ongoing.
The CEWS program [ran from](https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/wage-rent-subsidies.html) March 15, 2020, to Oct. 23, 2021 and payments amounted to nearly $100.6 billion. [Official records](https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/wage-rent-subsidies/cews-statistics.html) from the federal government as of November 2022, said that 460,120 incorporated businesses applied and were approved for the wage rebates.
Fewer than one percent (3,450) of the applications were rejected, though subsequent investigations showed subsidies were paid to insolvent companies, tax delinquents, and subsidiaries of foreign corporations like the Bank of China. Other Chinese state-owned companies and non-profit organizations with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party that [also received the wage subsidy](https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinese-state-owned-enterprises-among-recipients-of-covid-19-wage-subsidy_3630141.html) included the Canadian arm of PetroChina, China Mobile, and the Canada China Business Council.
CRA previously told The Epoch Times that those firms met the [eligibility criteria](https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/wage-rent-subsidies/cews-frequently-asked-questions.html#h_2) required of an employer for the benefit, adding that “the wage subsidy can only be claimed for employee remuneration by eligible organizations that have experienced a drop in revenue.”
Testifying before the [Commons public accounts committee](https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/PACP/meeting-45/evidence) on Jan. 26, CRA Commissioner Bob Hamilton said that the agency has yet to get a grasp of the amount paid out to “ineligible claims.” Auditor General Karen Hogan, who also testified at the meeting, estimated that $15.5 billion were paid out to those who might not have been eligible to receive the CEWS. “We concluded that all of those payments should be investigated further,” she said. When asked by Chambers during the hearing if he agreed with Hogan’s estimate, Hamilton disagreed. “No. We think that is an overestimate,” he replied.
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