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In today's Morning Brief, the Canada Revenue Agency is holding back approximately 50,000 teachers' tax returns — all because of a tax credit they claimed for school supplies purchased for their students.

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Tax returns stuck in limbo for 50,000 teachers who applied for a school-supply tax credit

Elementary and junior high school teacher Kajsa Hansen said she was counting on her expected $12,467 tax refund to pay upcoming bills, such as a new battery for her motorized wheelchair.

But now, the Calgary resident figures she'll have to rack up those charges on her credit card. That's because her refund is on hold due to a tax credit she claimed, which, it turns out, has yet to be approved. 

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is holding back approximately 50,000 teachers' tax returns, the agency confirmed with CBC News — all because of a tax credit they claimed for school supplies purchased for their students.

In what's known as the Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit, the federal government has upped the maximum teachers can claim, from $150 to $250. The problem is, the increase is included in new legislation (Bill C-8) that has yet to be passed in Parliament. Until the bill becomes law, any teacher who applied for the credit won't be getting their tax return. 

"It's not just the tax credit, it's the whole process of any other refund that they have is now being delayed because their returns are being put aside. And that's just not right," said Sam Hammond, president of the Canadian Teachers Federation. "Some of them need that money."

Tax specialist Armando Minicucci said teachers could have avoided the delay by filing their taxes without claiming the credit at this time. "You've got up to 10 years to amend your tax return, so there's plenty of time there," said Minicucci, with the firm Grant Thornton in Toronto. 

But that plan only works if you know about the problem in advance. CBC News interviewed five teachers who each filed their own taxes in February or March, and said they had no idea at the time that there was an issue with the school-supply credit. 

The CRA told CBC News that starting on Feb. 18, when it became clear the legislation would not be passed in time for the start of tax filing season, it sent notifications to tax preparers and tax software developers, and posted messages for tax preparers online. 

The CRA made no mention of alerting taxpayers. CBC News found an alert posted on a government website describing the credit. However, according to an internet archive search, the message was added sometime on or after April 9. Read the full story here.

Russian attack targets Ukrainian capital amid UN chief's visit to Kyiv

(Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press)

Firefighters try to put out a fire following an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday. Russia mounted attacks across a wide area of Ukraine on Thursday, bombarding Kyiv during a visit by the head of the United Nations. Read more on this story here.

In brief

At least two people in Maine may have broken U.S. federal laws by helping a Nova Scotia man obtain two of the guns he used during the April 2020 rampage that left 22 people dead, a CBC News investigation has found — though it appears unlikely they will face charges. After police shot and killed the gunman at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., they found five firearms in his possession. Investigators traced three of the weapons back to Houlton, Maine, a small town less than seven kilometres from the New Brunswick border that the shooter visited frequently. Court records and documents released by the public inquiry examining the tragedy outline how investigators believe Gabriel Wortman got them. They suggest a longtime friend in Houlton gifted him one handgun and he took another from that man's home. He also arranged to purchase a high-powered rifle for cash after attending a gun show in the town. The shooter, who didn't have a firearms licence, smuggled the guns into Canada. Based on American law, he should never have been able to obtain them in the first place. Read more on this story here

Canada's spies could be doing a better job of investigating extremism in the prison system, says an internal report. The document, obtained through an access to information request, emerged from a behind-the-scenes review of how the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP share information. "One of the concerns we have is the lack of coverage over persons convicted of terrorism offences once they are in jail," says the report. It was written by two national security lawyers tasked by the RCMP and CSIS with making recommendations to deal with information-sharing bottlenecks in the national security intelligence sphere. "It is accepted that there is a radicalization problem within our correctional institutions, not only Islamic extremism but also extreme right-wing white nationalism," the report says. "The vast majority of inmates will be released to the community. The challenge is to monitor these released offenders to evaluate the threat posed, if any." The authors write that while it's impossible for CSIS to investigate every potential threat, "it can and should investigate threats arising from those in custody." Read the full story here

For a guy who came to power in 2018 on a promise to rein in the size and cost of government, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is heading into his 2022 election campaign with a completely different pitch. That pitch can be seen in the budget tabled Thursday by Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, a budget that he described as "Premier Ford's vision." That "vision" is in reality less a provincial budget than a Progressive Conservative election platform. In case there's any doubt, Bethlenfalvy recited the PC campaign slogan "Get it done" no less than 10 times during his budget speech. Also, minutes after the speech wrapped, the legislature was adjourned until well after the June 2 election, so the budget won't pass unless the PCs win a majority. Beyond the sloganeering, the budget's tone and messaging appear crafted to assure Ontario voters that Ford and the PCs are not just willing to spend the money that's needed on crucial government services, but actually eager to do so, to the extent of actually forecasting a deficit higher than in each of the past two pandemic years. It also appears to be an attempt to persuade voters that Ford has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and that cutting government spending is no longer a big concern for the PCs. Read more analysis here.

WATCH | Ontario PCs table pre-election budget: 

Ontario government tables budget with election call right around the corner

10 months ago
Duration 8:54

The Toronto Raptors' postseason came to a halt Thursday night as the Philadelphia 76ers won their first-round playoff series 4-2 with a 132-97 rout. The 76ers blew Game 6 open with 30-9 run during the third quarter at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena. 76ers star centre Joel Embiid scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Chris Boucher had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors. Toronto lost the first three games of the series before taking the next two, raising the possibility that the Dinos could become the first team in NBA history to win a playoff series after going down 3-0. However, some poor shooting and disorganization at both ends of the court ended those hopes. Philadelphia moves on to play the Miami Heat in the second round. Read more from the game here.

WATCH l Raptors meet end of playoff run in blowout Game 6 loss to 76ers: 

76ers eliminate Raptors in 6 games as Embiid, Harden lead the way

10 months ago
Duration 0:48

Early risers take note: Something beautiful has been happening in the east in the wee hours of the morning, and it's about to get even better. Over the past month, four planets — Saturn, Mars, Venus and Jupiter — have been marching upwards from the eastern horizon. But two are ready for a super-close match-up. On Saturday and Sunday morning, Venus and Jupiter will appear almost inseparable. They will be separated by less than half the width of a full moon. These kinds of meetings — where two celestial bodies appear extremely close together in the sky — are called conjunctions. If you want to stumble out of bed and take a look, the best time is before sunrise, around 5 to 5:30 a.m. local time. And you'll need to have a good view of the eastern horizon. Read the full story here.

Now for some good news to start your Friday: Mattea Roach extended her winning streak on Jeopardy! to 18 games on Thursday, further cementing her legacy as the most successful Canadian ever to compete on the program. With 18 wins under her belt, Roach, a Toronto-based tutor, has the eighth-highest total for consecutive wins on the program. Roach, 23, has been making headlines as she racks up win after win on Jeopardy! this spring. If she manages to win yet another game on Friday, she will pull even with two prior contestants — David Madden and Jason Zuffranieri — who each put together 19-game streaks. Read more about Roach's winning streak.

First Person: I asked my grandparents how they would like to be remembered

I've carried out legacy interviews with my hospice patients at the end of life to provide loved ones with a tangible relic of their memory. In that same vein, I decided to record my last surviving grandparents, writes Dr. Arjun V.K. Sharma. Read the column here.

Nothing is Foreign: Mahraganat — the music Egyptian authorities don't want you to hear 

Over the last 20 years, a pulsing fusion of EDM, rap and Egyptian folk — known as Mahraganat — has risen from the streets of Cairo and become a worldwide phenomenon. 

But Egypt's authorities are now cracking down on the music and the artists creating it, saying it's immoral and corrupting young people. 

We take you inside the culture and class wars of Egypt and explore what the banning of popular music says about the African country's image and its future. 

Today in history: April 29

1913: Gideon Sundback of Hoboken, N.J., is granted a patent for the modern zipper.

1939: In his 2,129th consecutive game, Lou Gehrig gets what would be his last hit in a New York Yankee uniform, a single against the Washington Senators. His career ended suddenly because of illness. Two years later, he died at age 37 from the disease that would later bear his name.

1949: The House of Commons approves the NATO treaty.

1986: Queen's University offensive tackle Mike Schad becomes the first Canadian selected in the first round of the NFL draft. 

2009: Pope Benedict XVI expresses "sorrow" to a delegation from Canada's Assembly of First Nations over the abuse and "deplorable" treatment that Indigenous students suffered at residential schools run by the Catholic Church.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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