REGINA -- Roughly 40 people complained to the Ombudsman about their provincial income support benefits being scaled back or cancelled in 2020 because they were receiving the federal Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), according to the latest report from the Saskatchewan Ombudsman.

It’s something the NDP opposition leader Ryan Meili said was “pretty heartless”.

“This is the only province that’s done that,” Meili said.

The Sask Party argued the support benefits were only created as a way to replace income.

“Income assistance is a program of last resort, and when CERB was introduced it was actually introduced as an income replacement program. So that’s exactly how we’re continuing to treat it. So dollar for dollar it comes off of program benefits that they receive,” Lori Carr, Minister of Social Services, said.

According to the Ombudsman report, notice has been given to the Ministry of Social Service and an investigation into the issues is now underway.

Meili said the fault is with the Ministry of Social Services, for failing to help residents in need.