Man honoured for helping New Brunswickers file taxes free of charge for decades
Special clinics all over the Maritimes are helping those with modest incomes navigate tax paperwork; it's a cause close to the heart of a Moncton man, who's being honoured by the federal government for decades of volunteer work.
Edgar Leger was honoured on Sunday for helping Monctonians file their taxes for free for 46 years.
“I'm very grateful for what was offered to me,” says Leger.
Leger began volunteering while he was a business administration professor at l'Université de Moncton. He also encouraged his students to do the same, learning about the human side of the business, a trend that continues nearly 50 years later.
“It feels really good because we made a big difference,” says volunteer Alexandre Sonier. “Just filling out taxes can cost a lot of money for people.”
Leger continued his volunteer tax work long after he retired, but now he's cleared his calculator for good.
“We're going to miss him,” says tax clinic client Stella Surette. “We look forward to seeing him every year.”
The government says while it's important to celebrate the dedication of Leger and other volunteers, their work also highlights just how important these clinics are.
“The vulnerable populations, our youth, our seniors, people with disabilities, really understand that there are benefits you are entitled to. But you only get those benefits if you file those taxes,” says Kamal Khera, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.
A single person could receive up to $1,028 for the federal working income tax benefit, while children can qualify for up to $2,000 for post-secondary education, two examples of a lengthy list of benefits some people could be missing out on.
“If there's anything that we're going to do to break the cycle of poverty, it's through education, that's why I’m very, very fond of this program,” says New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Minister Ed Doherty.
With more than 21,000 tax returns filed at clinics across New Brunswick last year, Doherty says the effort is a testament to the spirit of New Brunswickers, but there's always room for more.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke