I am informed by the Departments of Human Resources Development and Revenue Canada as follows: (a), (b) and (c). Under Canada pension plan and old age security legislation, beneficiaries are entitled to continue receiving benefits while in prison.
However, to answer these parts would require the exchange of information on inmates between Human Resources Development Canada and Correctional Service Canada. The existing Old Age Security Act and Canada pension plan/income supplement legislation do not permit such an exchange.
On October 7, 1994, the Minister of Human Resources Development tabled a bill, C-54, which proposes to amend these two acts to allow for better information sharing between government departments. The Solicitor General has also tabled a bill, C-45, allowing for similar amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. These, if enacted, will allow for the exchange of information necessary to respond to these parts.
(d) Section 32 of the Unemployment Insurance Act specifically denies payment for the period during which a claimant is an inmate of any prison or similar institution.
There are control programs in effect to enforce this section of the act.
Human Resources Development Canada is not aware of any inmates receiving payment of UI benefits during a period of incarceration.
During this calendar year, January to August, there have been 1,688 disentitlements imposed denying benefits for the reason that the claimant is an inmate of a prison or similar institution.
The courts, however, are providing a more varied approach when imposing sentence on certain offenders. Payment may be made to persons serving a sentence who are not confined to an institution and who meet all the conditions of entitlement. Examples of this would be incarceration during weekends or evenings only, or electronic surveillance.
As to the question what crimes were they incarcerated for, this is of no relevance to the determination of entitlement to UI benefit. Accordingly, information on the reasons for incarceration are not collected.
(e) Correctional Service Canada provides to Revenue Canada the following information: name; date of birth; date of incarceration; date of release and nature of parole arrangements if any. This information is used to ensure that only those individuals who are entitled under the law to GST credit benefits receive them. Inmates who are confined to prison at the end of the taxation year, and had been so confined for at least six months in the year, are not eligible to apply for the GST credit benefits.
The latest information concerning the number of individuals who received the GST credit would be based on the 1993 taxation year. However, the number of federal inmates who received the GST credit is not data that is accumulated for purposes of administration of the Income Tax Act. This information is not readily available and would require a considerable expenditure and reallocation of resources to assemble. The reason for the incarceration is not provided to Revenue Canada as it is not a determining factor in providing GST rebates. To determine the nature of the incarceration of any GST credit recipient, income tax information would have to be communicated to Correctional Service Canada and that is precluded by the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act.