Excerpt from the Official Report of


May 26, 2010

Overpayments to income assistance recipients

S. Simpson: We've now learned that the government is aggressively going after income assistance recipients for overpayments from six years ago. We know that between January of 2009 and the end of April 2010 there were less than 70 claims filed by the government. In the first few weeks of May alone we've seen over 300 claims filed.

Can the minister tell us how and when these overpayments occurred, and what percentage were government error or overpayment?


S. Simpson: We know that the majority of these people continue to be on assistance. They have little or no money to make these repayments. Income assistance, we know, is already too low. In all likelihood it will cost the government more to prosecute these small claims than they will get back in dollars.

Is it the minister's intention to either cut people off, garnish their cheques — creating even more hardship for income assistance recipients — or do what the government has done for years and years and forgive all of this? If so, why is he creating this anxiety?


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