The Current

The Current for Dec. 30, 2020

Canadians angry they're being asked to repay CERB because of confusing eligibility rules; First Nations outreach in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside; why one student swore off internet for a year — during a pandemic.
CBC News senior reporter Catherine Cullen guest hosts Wednesday's edition of The Current. (CBC)

Full Episode Transcript

Today on The Current with guest host Catherine Cullen:

Some 440,000 Canadians received a jarring letter from the Canada Revenue Agency saying they incorrectly received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have to pay them back. Many complained that the rules for eligibility were not properly laid out, leading to them applying for and receiving payments they're on the hook for. Catherine Cullen speaks to:

  • Roger Helfrick, an Edmonton-based musician worried he can't pay back his seven months' worth of CERB payments.
  • Leila Sarangi, who says asking people to repay the CERB will hurt low-income Canadians the most, and even create more poverty among people who are hardest-hit during the pandemic.
  • Francesco Sorbara, Liberal MP and parliamentary secretary to the minister of national revenue.

We revisit Not Alone, the award-winning documentary by CBC's Wawmeesh Hamilton following Haisla First Nation member James Harry's mission to help people struggling with addiction in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Then we get an update from Wawmeesh about one person that Harry has spent months searching for to help.

McGill University student Aron Rosenberg in January began a personal project to swear off all internet usage for an entire year. Then the pandemic hit. He talks about his reasons for turning off the switch, and what he's learned — about our collective reliance on the internet, and about himself — in the months since.

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