FREDERICTON (GNB) – An audit of the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit is underway by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.

The $900, one-time, benefit was offered in the spring of 2020 as a bridge to federal emergency funding through Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

“Providing immediate assistance to New Brunswickers whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was critical to the well-being of our residents,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “I am extremely proud of how quickly we were able to respond and put money into the hands of those who needed it.”

With the program complete, the department is now conducting a thorough review to ensure the money that was provided to individuals was done so appropriately.

When individuals applied for the benefit, they indicated that they met the following eligibility criteria:

  • had lost their job, been laid off, or lost all self-employment revenue on or after March 15 due to the state of emergency;
  • had earned a minimum of $5,000 in gross earnings in the last 12 months or in the last calendar year;
  • had applied, or planned to apply, for federal financial assistance through EI or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit; and
  • were 18 or older.

Individuals also attested at the time of their application that they would keep the necessary supporting documents proving their eligibility for the program for three years.

“Audits are a key part of exercising fiscal responsibility and of ensuring our programs are executed in a fair and equitable manner,” said Holder. “While we are confident that most individuals who received assistance met the eligibility criteria, we understand there is the possibility of some errors given the quick rollout of this program.”

The audit will take place over several months. Selected individuals who received the benefit will be contacted and asked to submit proof of eligibility. Should it be determined that someone was ineligible they will be asked to repay the benefit.

Additional information about the audit is available online.