Hey, that was a great story!

By: Kathy Bell, Strategic Communications, Canada Revenue Agency

Headshot of Kathy Bell and her dog in a park
Kathy Bell

You remember it. You are reading along, and then there is that moment, an internal click, and you’re in the story! The story made you smile, or laugh, or even wince. You nod your head. You might feel sad, angry, or perhaps proud. Whatever the feeling, you connect.

Reading the story of Erick’s beginnings as a child newcomer in Canada, I am in the playground watching a little boy standing in line at recess beside his new friend Henry. It is Erick’s first day at his new school in Toronto. I can see Henry turning to Erick to translate the teacher’s English remarks into Cantonese. Then I am transported to the future, watching Erick as an adult on a local TV newscast, speaking in Cantonese about how people can get tax filing help, and I smile because I know why he could, and why he wanted to, be a part of this outreach.

One day I would love to meet Parmjit, a Community Volunteer Income Tax Program volunteer. I want her to take me to her gurdwara in Vancouver. I too want to smell the langar being prepared in the kitchen. If I could just sit back in a quiet little corner, it would be so satisfying to see the look on Balbir’s face, when he learns that he needn’t worry about submitting his taxes now that Parmjit is here to ease his worry. I’m sure that if I was at that tax clinic that day, I would also see Parmjit smile, knowing that she helped someone like Balbir with a task that was weighing heavily.

At the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), we share stories like Erick and Parmjit’s as part of our People First storytelling campaign. One at a time, Erick and Parmjit, and others like them, help us put a face, a name, and a memorable story to the work we do to help those who need it most. The stories highlight how Canada’s enormous tax administration workforce is made up of people like you and me. CRA employees, and those who support the work we do, are people who care about others, and who want to make a difference in our communities. You may not realize it, but the important work of managing Canada’s tax system is done by the person who lives on your street, your friend’s aunt, or maybe your cousin.

Headshot of Erick
Headshot of Parmjit
Erick and Parmjit from CRA’s People First series

The CRA workforce is so big, and the stories of empathy toward our clients are countless. As we meet these outstanding people and do our best to capture their stories, our hope is that our broader employee base learns more about their colleagues and the critical roles each one of us plays in our organization, and more importantly, in the lives of individuals and businesses in our country. As we work to build trust with the public by humanizing our work at the CRA, sharing these real stories with those outside the Agency is key. We are convinced that providing the public a glimpse into life at the CRA through storytelling will give people a deeper understanding and appreciation for how People First is more than a catch phrase. It is ingrained in how we treat each other, and our clients.

By reading our stories, you will get a sense of how diverse the work we do is, and how protection of tax filer information is of utmost importance. For the CRA, we are constantly working to better understand the unique needs of people from all walks of life and how we can make it easier for all individuals and businesses to navigate the tax system. Our stories play a role in ensuring our services are more accessible, and that those who need benefits most are able to claim them in as easy a manner as possible. At the CRA, considering your needs is People First.

This month, as we celebrate National Public Service Week, it is fitting to acknowledge the people we work with and the people we serve, and the stories they have shared with us through campaigns such as Putting people first at the CRA, Good News Grows at Agriculture Canada or #ImmigrationMatters at IRCC,  and other spaces.

In a time when we connect with people more virtually, we should recognize and thank our colleagues who raise their hands and tell their stories. It is a tangible way to learn about the passion and dedication of public servants who serve the people of Canada, every day throughout the year.

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