'Leave you in limbo': Glitch has unemployed Calgarian waiting months for federal funding
CALGARY -- Federal funding for people out of work due to the pandemic has come in the forms of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) then Employment Insurance (EI) or Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) but a Calgary woman said she has not been able to access any funding for two months due to a system error.
Heather Allan said she began receiving CERB in April when she was laid off by the construction supplier company where she worked the past seven years, but in August she was no longer able to access the CERB online system to renew her funding. She said she called Service Canada several times since and has gotten the same answer eight times: there is a ‘glitch’ with her account and that her case would be ‘escalated’ to a higher staff member for review.
“They leave you in limbo,” said Allan.
“You can’t call anyone else," she said. "They give you nothing, nothing to work with. That to me is like.. where’s the answers? I’m sure there’s more people than me looking for answers.”
She said Service Canada told her to call back every few days if it hasn’t been fixed and that she cannot receive funding until the glitch with account has been resolved.
The glitch has already resulted in the government heolding back a potential $4000.
That includes CERB, which ended in September and then either EI or CRB which became they new funding tools for the unemployed during COVID-19.
'You defer everything'
The mother of three said she is fortunate her husband is still working but said times are still tough for many people during the pandemic, especially when they previously relied on two incomes and bills are coming due.
“You defer everything when you first get laid off," she said. "Well now it’s been six months and everyone wants to get paid."
“Which I get...but I can’t pay if they (Service Canada) don’t pay and it’s like a circle -a vicious circle.”
She said when she is not spending time on hold or speaking with Service Canada agents, she is searching for other work.
“I’m looking every day. I’ve looked online this morning. I’ve applied to 70 plus jobs in the last month.”
She hopes to both find employment and get an answer regarding federal funding since she was told she may be offered back-pay for the past two months.