Home Sections Seniors LETTER: losing GIS means needing help to pay the rent

LETTER: losing GIS means needing help to pay the rent

Many seniors have lost GIS benefit due to CERB being treated as normal taxable income instead of emergency income.

Wednesday November 17, 2021 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC

Editor’s note:


My wife and I are both seniors living in Coquitlam, BC. I filed our taxes for 2020 and noticed that CRA made the pandemic income NON TAXABLE [Editor’s Note: the CERB was always called *taxable*; tax was not deducted at source but was to be collected later. However it was never clearly articulated that the Guaranteed Income Supplement would be directly impacted]

This meant that my wife and I did not have to pay taxes on the CERB income we received during the pandemic in 2020. In July 2021 I received a letter from Service Canada that they have stripped our GIS because they made pandemic income taxable for calculating the GIS in 2020. 

This amounted to close to $600 per month. To most people $600 is not a lot of money but for seniors it means not paying your utilities or rent for the month. Now my wife and I are forced to receive help from friends and relatives just to pay for those necessities of life.

Service Canada and CRA are together in the same umbrella so it makes me angry that government officers decide to do this to seniors. We are the people that help make our country so great. 

So, it is time that the Government will do what is necessary to correct this wrongdoing. They need to fix this problem now so that more than 83,000 seniors receive some benefit they richly deserve.


Rhonda and Brad Jackson, Coquitlam, BC

Editor’s Note: Canada Revenue Agency says that only people who have paid into the Employment Insurance (EI) program could have applied for the CERB/CRB through Service Canada (gig workers and self-employed were not able to apply through Service Canada). Temporary workers who receive a pay stub showing EI contributions may be able to appeal or reapply through Service Canada (a form can be requested from CRA). Meanwhile, the CRB program ended October 23, 2021. On November 8, 2021 the Seniors Minister’s office said that people can ask through Service Canada for an assessment of what their 2021 income is likely to be (as a way to perhaps have the GIS calculation revised).

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