Canada Revenue Agency’s Accessibility Plan 2023-2025

Alternate formats

Alternate formats for CRA forms, publications, and personalized correspondence can be ordered online or by phone at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals, or 1-800-959-5525 for business owners. 

Formats available:

  • Digital audio (MP3) 
  • Electronic text (Etext)
  • Braille
  • Large print

Message from the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner

We are pleased to share the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) first Accessibility Plan. This plan brings together the CRA's new and ongoing efforts to realize the vision set out by the Accessible Canada Act (the Act), which aims to create a barrier-free Canada by 2040. By delivering upon this vision, the CRA will identify, remove, and prevent barriers in CRA workplaces and in our delivery of program and services to Canadians.

The CRA's People First philosophy, which guides us to meet client and employee needs and expectations by putting people at the centre of everything we do, is fully aligned with the vision set out by the Act. Our philosophy reinforces the importance of engaging people with disabilities to understand their experiences, the issues that they face, and how we can improve our services to align with their needs. We strive to be trusted, fair, and helpful by putting people first so that Canadians feel seen, heard, and responded to according to their diverse needs and perspectives. Accessibility is essential to achieving this goal.

Our commitment to this Plan acknowledges that there are over 15 million Canadians with a disability, and this number is growing. We recognize that we have work to do to ensure that our workplaces, programs and services are barrier free and accessible to all. In the delivery of this and future Accessibility Plans, the CRA will ensure that it considers the intersectionality across the diverse experiences, circumstances, and situations that shape our clients' and employees' lived experiences. To do this, the Agency will continue to create opportunities to hear the voices of, and closely consult with, employees and persons with disabilities as part of our work to fulfill our legislative obligations under the Act, and more importantly, it is the right thing to do.

The CRA's Accessibility Plan lists concrete actions that we will undertake to implement solutions to identified accessibility barriers. We will make regular Progress Reports that describes how we are implementing our Accessibility Plan, and how we are responding to the feedback we have and will continue to receive from those with lived experience.

Over the next three years, we will take decisive steps towards becoming truly barrier-free. We are adopting an accessible-by-design approach to help shape the necessary changes to our programs and services. In the meantime, we invite you to share your thoughts with us on the Plan – information on how to do so can be found in the next section.

We look forward to working with you to take accessibility at the CRA to a higher level.

1. General

The Canada Revenue Agency receives feedback from its clients, including feedback on accessibility, through various channels. Clients can share their accessibility feedback with us by telephone, mail, fax, online form, and email. In addition, clients can provide their accessibility feedback through our online portal (My Account). Feedback can be in the form of a complaint, a compliment, or a suggestion, and it can be sent in a way that identifies the sender for follow up or can be sent anonymously.

We acknowledge and address the feedback we receive on accessibility, unless the feedback is submitted anonymously. Internal processes are also in place to ensure that we monitor, report on, and incorporate the feedback that relates to accessibility barriers and the Accessibility Plan into our future accessibility plans and progress reports.

Our designate for feedback on accessibility is the Assistant Commissioner of the Service, Innovation and Integration Branch. To learn more about our service feedback process, including how to submit service feedback related to accessibility, visit the Submit Service Feedback page.

Accessibility feedback can be submitted in the following ways:

Mail

To send feedback about an accessibility barrier or the Accessibility Plan by mail, please send a letter (or fill out Form RC193, Service Feedback) to:

Assistant Commissioner, Service, Innovation and Integration Branch
c/o CRA Service Feedback
National Intake Centre
4695 Shawinigan-Sud Boulevard
Shawinigan QC G9P 5H9
CANADA

If you prefer to submit your feedback anonymously, you do not have to complete sections 1 or 2 of Form RC193 or include identifying information in your letter. However, please remember that we are unable to acknowledge or reply to anonymous feedback.

Facsimile (Fax)

To send feedback by fax about accessibility barriers you are experiencing or about the Accessibility Plan, please write a letter (or fill out Form RC193, Service Feedback) and send it by fax to the Assistant Commissioner, Service, Innovation and Integration Branch c/o CRA Service Feedback at:

We are unable to acknowledge that we received your feedback or respond to it by fax due to security and privacy concerns.

Email

To send feedback by email about accessibility barriers you are experiencing or about the Accessibility Plan, you can write to the Assistant Commissioner, Service, Innovation and Integration Branch c/o CRA Service Feedback at asf-ras@cra-arc.gc.ca.

Important: Absolutely no protected or taxpayer information should be sent by email. The security of taxpayer information is our top priority. Although email is widely used, it does not meet the security requirements needed to ensure that this confidential information is fully protected.

With this in mind, please do not include any confidential information (for example, a social insurance number or tax return information) in your feedback. We strongly recommend that you submit your feedback using another method, such as the online form (see the next section).

Online form

To submit feedback about barriers or the Accessibility Plan electronically, you can use the RC193, Service Feedback Online Form. Individuals, businesses, or representatives can use this online form to submit identified or anonymous feedback. The online form lets you complete and submit your feedback all in one place.

Online account

You can submit a complaint, a compliment, or a suggestion about an accessibility barrier or the Accessibility Plan online by using the Submit documents option on either:

Please write to the Assistant Commissioner, Service, Innovation and Integration Branch, c/o CRA Service Feedback. At this time, you cannot submit anonymous feedback using your online account.

Telephone

To provide feedback, including anonymous feedback about accessibility barriers you are experiencing or on the Accessibility Plan, you can contact us using one of the following numbers:

Once you connect with a contact centre agent, tell them right away you are calling to provide feedback on accessibility or on the accessibility plan. They will collect your feedback and share it with the appropriate area to be addressed.

Teletypewriter (TTY)

If you use a TTY, you can also share your feedback by calling 1-800-665-0354.

If you use an operator-assisted relay service, please call our regular telephone numbers instead of the TTY number (refer to the Telephone section above for these numbers).

2. Executive Summary

As part of the commitments set out in the Accessible Canada Act and with a goal of making Canada barrier-free by January 1, 2040, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is proud to present its first Accessibility Plan, which runs from 2023 to 2025.

The Accessibility Plan sets out the CRA’s approach to identifying, removing, and preventing accessibility barriers over the next three years. It also outlines the CRA’s  accountability and governance approach to delivering upon the Act, as well as the importance of preserving accessibility while transitioning to a hybrid work model. Further, the Plan conveys the need for an organizational culture that supports accessibility and inclusion. We recognize that employees must be fully equipped and supported to deliver accessible services to all clients. 

Our Accessibility Plan is grounded in the principle of “Nothing Without Us,” and is shaped by consultations with persons with disabilities, interviews with organizations that support them, and engagements with CRA employees with disabilities. Program and service areas within the CRA, the CRA’s Board of Management, the Disability Advisory Committee, and the External Advisory Panel on Service were also engaged. As well, the CRA looked at data from surveys, research, and insights shared by other government departments.

We identified four areas of focus for our Accessibility Plan:

  1. Building expertise, understanding, and respect and reducing the stigma related to accessibility and persons with disabilities.
  2. Increasing options and flexibility for tailored approaches to increase and improve access to our programs and services.
  3. Ensuring our written products are accessible and use accessible language.
  4. Capturing and actioning feedback to continually learn and improve in the above noted and other areas.

Most importantly, the Accessibility Plan lists key accessibility barriers that CRA clients and employees with disabilities are facing, and the actions we will take to address them. These barriers and actions are sorted by the seven areas in the Accessible Canada Act:

An additional list of barriers and actions related to training and learning has also been included in the Plan. Persons with disabilities identified these as important areas where the CRA could improve. Learning from the knowledge, expertise, and experiences of persons with disabilities is essential to helping us ensure we are fully capable of delivering barrier-free services to all our clients.

3. Accessibility Statement

The Canada Revenue Agency is fully committed to the Accessible Canada Act (the Act)'s goal of making Canada barrier-free by January 1, 2040. Accessibility is a fundamental part of client and employee experience, and strengthening accessibility across our programs, services, and policies is what we aim to achieve through this Accessibility Plan.

The Act was enacted in July 2019, cementing the Government of Canada's commitment to proactively identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility where Canadians interact with areas under federal responsibility; whether they be internal or external to an organization. Through the Act, federal departments and agencies have been assigned three important requirements to support accessibility:

  1. Creating three-year Accessibility Plans that set out how they will identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility in programs and services.
  2. Publishing annual Progress Reports that describe how organizations are delivering upon their Accessibility Plans.
  3. Implementing processes to collect, manage, and respond to feedback on accessibility, including Accessibility Plans and Progress Reports.

These activities must be done in consultation with persons with disabilities, respecting the principle of "Nothing Without Us". Through regular consultation with persons with disabilities, the CRA is ensuring that its activities are directly aligned with the needs and expectations of those with lived experience. This also means engaging persons with disabilities to identify accessibility barriers, shape the work that is being done to address these barriers, and ensure that these efforts are effective in creating more positive outcomes. While the Act has introduced new requirements for organizations to follow, ensuring that experiences are accessible is more than a legislative obligation, it is simply the right thing to do.

The CRA's People First philosophy is reflected in its Accessibility Plan, which sets out the Agency's approach to addressing accessibility barriers over the next three years – focusing on the seven areas listed in the Act:

The Agency also recognizes that to deliver accessible programs and services, it needs the right organizational culture: one that puts accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of all that it does. This is why a section has been included in the Plan on organizational culture and change management, as it is vital that managers and employees are fully equipped and supported to offer accessible services for all clients.

The CRA is committed to ensuring that its programs, services and workplace are accessible to all. Over the coming weeks, months, and years, the CRA commits to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility, upholding the rights of persons with disabilities under the Act, and working with persons with disabilities to strengthen the accessibility of all that it does.

Important note: While the barriers in this Accessibility Plan have been numbered for ease of reference, the numbers used do not reflect the level of priority assigned to barriers and their respective actions.

4. What We Learned: Accessibility Plan Consultations

The CRA's Accessibility Plan has been shaped by consultations with persons with disabilities, interviews with organizations that support them, and engagements with CRA employees with disabilities. Through this research, key drivers were identified that informed what barriers the CRA chose to target in the Plan, as well as the proposed actions to remove and prevent them.

In Fall 2021, the CRA carried out an initial review of the state of accessibility for its external programs and services. This environmental scan complemented existing research on the state of internal services for employees. It found gaps related to:

From November 2021 to January 2022, the CRA interviewed representatives from community organizations from across Canada who help persons with disabilities access programs and services, to seek their perspectives on their experiences supporting clients with disabilities. These interviews provided valuable information on:

In April and May 2022, the CRA held a national public consultation exercise for persons with disabilities and caregivers to share their experiences with the CRA, the accessibility barriers that they have found, and what could be done to address them. Participants took part in discussion groups, one-on-one interviews, or by completing an online survey. The input shared by participants can be categorized into three themes:

In August 2022, CRA employees with disabilities were invited to provide their feedback on the first draft of the Accessibility Plan. In that consultation, employees shared that:

In the identification of barriers and solutions, the CRA also consulted program and service areas, the CRA's Disability Advisory Committee, and the External Advisory Panel on Service. In addition, the Agency studied data from surveys, research, and other information shared by government departments. Through these activities, the CRA has identified four areas of focus for its Accessibility Plan:

Please see Annex B for more information on who was consulted as part of the development of the CRA's Accessibility Plan and the methods of consultation.

5. Building on the Foundation of Accessibility at the CRA

The CRA has been actively working to better understand the implications of the Act, identify barriers to accessibility, and seek solutions with the input of persons with disabilities to eliminate these barriers. Part of this work includes putting in place the appropriate internal structures, mechanisms, and strategies to help us succeed in meeting the requirements of the Act. With this in mind, the CRA recognizes that it must establish the right governance, accountability framework, and organizational culture to promote accessibility – all while supporting its employees through the resulting organizational change.

5.1 Accountability and Governance

To guide the delivery of the Act within the Agency, the CRA created an Accessibility Centre of Expertise and Agency Secretariat (ACEAS). The ACEAS will work within the CRA to help its various branches and regions fulfill their legislative obligations under the Act and foster collaboration on accessibility across the CRA's services. To carry out this work, ACEAS engages persons with disabilities to ensure that their lived experiences shape the CRA's strategic direction for accessibility.

The ACEAS is responsible for:

The CRA's Persons with Disabilities Network (the Network) also plays an important role in shaping accessibility at the Agency. The Network is made up of employees with disabilities that have lived experience with accessibility barriers, have insights and experiences to share in helping remove barriers, and are also taxpayers themselves. The ACEAS relies on the Network to share the perspectives of CRA employees with disabilities and involves the Network throughout the development of the CRA's Accessibility Plans.

To further strengthen our commitment to accessibility, the CRA will take the following actions to put in place a strong governance and accountability structure for accessibility:

  1. Establish a senior executive sponsor for accessibility in the CRA.
    • As an agent for change, the sponsor will influence decision-making, engage colleagues to achieve accessibility objectives, and mobilize resources to ensure that accessibility is at the core of management and decision-making.
    • This role will be held by the Assistant Commissioner of the Service, Innovation and Integration Branch.
  2. Embed accessibility requirements into policy review mechanisms so that all future reviews of CRA policies, directives, programs, service delivery channels, and operational procedures are in line with the Act.
  3. Incorporate accessibility into our planning, decision-making, and implementation processes, such as in our major project investments.
  4. Develop a feedback mechanism to collect internal feedback on accessibility and strengthen existing external feedback channels.
  5. Allocate the funding to deliver on the commitments in this plan and establish a permanent capacity to oversee the CRA's Accessibility programme.
  6. Develop a performance measurement framework for accessibility to measure and report on CRA's progress in removing barriers.
    • Success will be measured by CRA's ability to improve access to programs and services (internally and externally) as well as the experience of CRA's clients and employees with disabilities in their interactions with the Agency, using a tailored client-centric approach.
    • Success will also be measured in the CRA's ability to foster a high-performing, diverse, and inclusive workforce in a modern, flexible and accessible workplace.
    • Progress will be evaluated using many data sources, including consultations with persons with disabilities, the Public Service Employee Survey, and the CRA's Annual Corporate Research.

5.2 Accessibility and the CRA's Transition Plan

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CRA employees have navigated through significant changes in their home and work environments to deliver CRA programs, with many CRA employees continuing to perform their duties remotely. Employee experiences, including those of our employees with disabilities, are helping to shape the CRA's transition towards a flexible, digital, hybrid model of working that will enable the CRA to continue delivering on our mandate to Canadians.

Through consultations with employees with disabilities, the CRA learned that the hybrid model should not be a one-size-fits-all solution; it must be flexible so that it can take into account the specific needs of individuals and help address some of the accessibility barriers identified in this Plan. The Agency will continue to engage persons with disabilities and other stakeholders to identify, remove, and prevent accessibility barriers in the hybrid work environment, including those related to physical barriers (such as those related to physical access and mobility, emergency procedures, accessible washrooms, ergonomic requirements), allergy and sensory issues (sound, smell, light levels), technological barriers (such as availability of assistive technologies, and use of accessible software), and cognitive, mental-health and other related concerns.

Monitoring and measuring success of the hybrid model's impact on accessibility and the working experience of employees with disabilities is important and will help identify opportunities to eliminate barriers that persist for employees. To measure the success of our hybrid work model, the CRA is developing a performance measurement framework to assess our success in achieving outcomes and to flag areas that may require attention. We will also use pulse surveys and analyze current and future Public Service Employee Survey results to gather information and input on workplace accessibility factors.

5.3 Building an Organizational Culture that Promotes Accessibility

In consultations with persons with disabilities, the Agency identified the need to address significant cultural accessibility barriers. These include individual biases, stigmas, assumptions, and discrimination which continue to shape the experiences and treatment of employees and clients who identify as persons with disabilities. A workforce that is empathetic, educated and aware of the rights of persons with disabilities to receive accessible internal and external programs and services is not optional or "nice to have". It is a foundational requirement of ensuring the CRA can meet its obligations under the Act.

Building an organizational culture that promotes inclusiveness and accessibility will take time. Communications, awareness-raising tools and training will be crucial to creating a more inclusive workplace and a culture of accessibility. With this in mind, the CRA, in consultation with persons with disabilities, will:

Change management is also an essential part of shifting any organization's culture, by focusing on the adoption of the changes that the CRA is committing to bring about in this plan. Change management uses processes, tools, and best practices to lead people through change. It recognizes that organizations don't change, people do, and it uses a structured and holistic approach to drive individual change to achieve organizational change.

The CRA will anchor the change management process in the "Nothing Without Us" principle, by continually consulting with persons with disabilities to help us develop and put in place services that are accessible by default and by design. Further, in line with the CRA's People First philosophy, the Agency will focus on supporting our employees to adopt new organizational attitudes, behaviours, and competencies related to disability and accessibility. We will build and reinforce new habits to ensure all CRA employees are onboard to champion and adopt the change and build a strong culture that supports accessibility in all seven areas of the Act.

6. Areas under the Accessible Canada Act

The CRA recognizes that identifying, removing, and preventing accessibility barriers is essential to a future of inclusion and fairness. In this spirit, our accessibility plans represent an ongoing commitment to consult, listen, take responsibility, and remove accessibility barriers wherever we find them.

This section specifies the barriers (and our commitments to address them) we identified through research and consultation as those that are of greatest importance to our internal and external clients. While we work to address these barriers, we will remain committed to identifying and addressing new barriers over the next three years.

The barriers and actions included in this Accessibility Plan were developed by directly consulting:

As we continue to engage these partners (and others) to learn about new accessibility barriers, we will also act to address them – whether they are included in our Accessibility Plan or not.

6.1 Employment

Actions under the Employment section will improve recruitment, retention, and promotion of persons with visible and non-visible disabilities. Through the CRA Persons with Disabilities Network and in public consultations, we learned that issues around professional development, promotion, and retention were of particular concern to persons with disabilities. The barriers targeted below represent the first steps toward closing these gaps.

Barrier 1: Recruitment activities often overlook accessibility and disability inclusion. Among CRA representatives involved in recruitment activities, some lack awareness about how to connect with and recruit persons with disabilities.

Action 1
We will look to remove this barrier by:

  • offering prospective candidates with disabilities more inclusive recruitment activities to encourage them to consider us as an employer of choice;
  • working with universities to host events specifically for persons with disabilities during the academic year;
  • promoting accommodations measures available to prospective candidates;
  • raising the awareness of our representatives to improve their effectiveness in recruiting persons with disabilities;
  • working with on-site management services to provide accommodations for candidates during in-person events; and,
  • promoting career progression opportunities targeted to persons with disabilities.

Timeline: March 2024

Barrier 2: Persons with disabilities are not recruited, onboarded, or promoted relative to others in the general employee population.

Action 2
We will deliver on and update yearly a Strategy for Recruitment, Onboarding, and Retention of Persons with Disabilities, which will include initiatives to address recruitment barriers, initiatives to improve retention and promotion of employees with disabilities, and ways to measure progress in strengthening these areas.

Targets and initiatives in the Strategy include:

  • 750 net new persons with disabilities are hired by the CRA by 2025; and
  • identify and remove employment barriers for job seekers and employees with disabilities through the pilot of a CRA Career Centre for persons with disabilities.

Timeline:

  • Strategy Published – October 2022
  • Annual update: December 2023, December 2024, and December 2025
Barrier 3: The process to accommodate for injury, illness, medical condition, or disability is said to be complex and lengthy, and there is a lack of awareness of the support available for employees and their managers during the accommodation process.

Action 3
We will continue to build awareness in employees and managers by:

  • working with providers to ensure that they comply with our accessibility technology requirements (for example, adaptive technology);
  • developing additional support tools where needed as we evolve for the workplace of the future;
  • promoting the Informal Conflict Resolution (ICR) Program and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support employees as they are dealing with change related to an accommodation plan or a solution;
  • identifying and putting methods in place to reduce response time for requests for accommodation due to injury, illness, medical condition, or disability;
  • reviewing and creating efficiencies, whenever possible, for workplace accommodations;
  • review the process for employees to obtain adaptive technology in order to find efficiencies and reduce wait times for employees to be accommodated; and,
  • perform a needs analysis to determine the need for potential increase of the procurement and inventory of adaptive technology solutions to support new and existing employees requiring adaptive technology accommodations.

Timeline: Ongoing, with progress and results reported yearly, over the three year cycle covered by this plan, to demonstrate improved engagement with persons with disabilities and improved response to requests for accommodations.

Action 4
We will implement best practices in assessment accommodations by:

  • developing content on assessment accommodations for our public web pages to increase awareness and understanding;
  • promoting the use of inclusive language, accessible documents, and universal design in assessments;
  • learning from best practices related to assessment accommodations and further expanding guidelines for administering tests; and,
  • identifying how our assessment accommodation process could use the Government of Canada Accessibility Passport.

Timeline: March 2024

Action 5
We will support the use of fair and inclusive standardized assessments during staffing processes by:

  • working with assessment providers to ensure they meet our accessibility technology requirements;
  • identifying accessibility barriers experienced by those taking standardized assessments, in consultation with the CRA Persons with Disabilities Network; and,
  • developing stronger, future accessibility and accommodation requirements for CRA's assessment providers.

Timeline: March 2025

Barrier 4: Accommodation needs are not following employees from position to position.

Action 6
To close this gap, we will affirm that accommodation, when possible, follows an employee without them having to resubmit an accommodation request. When they move to a new team or position, their supervisor will review their existing accommodation needs against the new job duties and will ensure the appropriate accommodation measures are put in place.

Timeline: March 2023

Action 7
We will determine how to integrate the concept of the Government of Canada Accessibility Passport in our process for accommodating injury, illness, medical condition, or disability. We will do this by considering the existing individual accommodation plan we use in our process. Both tools can move with an employee to another position within the CRA or another department and can be used to start the conversation about accommodation needs.

Timeline: June 2023

Barrier 5: The current forms and processes to interact with the compensation program are not accessible to all employees.

Action 8
We will replace 14 compensation based webforms and processes with the Compensation Digital Modernization Project. This project includes new fully accessible processes that will be accessible for users of adaptive technology. Once this is completed, web forms and forms-based processes used to interact with the compensation program will be fully accessible to users of adaptive technology.

Timeline: The first 4 processes will be implemented by the end of December 2022. Remaining processes will be implemented in a series of launches that will be completed by March 2024.

6.2 The built environment

The built environment refers to all CRA-occupied buildings, including how employees use physical workspaces and how the public accesses these buildings when needed. We are working with the CRA Persons with Disabilities Network to improve the accessibility of the built environment with an "inclusive by design" and "accessible by default" approach. Further, we will also ensure that the evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons with disabilities is factored into this work.

Barrier 6: Although all CRA buildings have been fit-up to meet barrier-free building codes, not all CRA buildings are fully accessible since the codes are a minimum requirement. This creates barriers when moving through the work space, accessing the building, and interacting within the space.

Action 9
To meet the goals of the Act, we will evaluate the built environment to ensure that it meets accessibility standards as defined by Accessible Standards Canada. We will also look to determine where we can make accessibility enhancements in all our spaces and how the built environment can positively affect the workplace of the future. We will do this by:

  • consulting continually with the CRA's Persons with Disabilities Network; and,
  • working on short, medium, and long-term initiatives with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) as our service provider. Together with PSPC, we will make sure we are in line with the PSPC strategy, Accessible Standards Canada's requirements, and our accessibility goals for the built environment.

Timeline: March 2024.

Action 10
We will plan improvements to the built environment that we can achieve in the short-and medium-term, such as:

  • installing automatic door openers;
  • installing touchless equipment in washrooms;
  • re-evaluating lighting;
  • Installing way-finding systems and signage components, such as QR codes, NFC tags, and Braille signage;
  • installing sensory elements, including visual alarms for employees with hearing disabilities (such as strobe lights); and,
  • For new projects, review how to improve circulation space for employees with mobility disabilities (more circulation space surrounding tables in meeting rooms, widths of corridors, and aisles etc.).

The examination, analysis, and alignment with the PSPC strategy will be completed and a planned approach for accessibility enhancements in line with PSPC will be in place.

Timeline: Analyze alignment with PSPC's strategy by March 2023; plan approach to implement accessibility enhancements in alignment with PSPC by March 2024.

Action 11
We will upgrade our agency's fit-up standards to include accessibility items that are over and above minimum requirements based on how we intend to enhance accessibility for employees through consultations with the Persons with Disabilities Network. A plan to respond to recommendations made by the Network will be developed.

Timeline: Provide recommendations by March 2024 and develop an Action Plan by March 2025.

Barrier 7: CRA employees who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, or hard of hearing have to rely on their manager or colleagues to get information about the status of their building.

Action 12
We will acquire and deploy a new mass-notification system that is fully accessible for all employees. The system will include different options, such as TTY, email, text message, automated phone call, and mobile application with push notifications, to receive notifications about the status of our buildings. This way, employees won't need to rely on colleagues or management to get information about building status.

Timeline: December 2023

6.3 Information and communication technologies

Actions in the information and communication technologies (ICT) section aim to create a barrier-free digital environment accessible and useable by all CRA employees and clients. Our long-term plans for IT accessibility are to permanently address accessibility barriers in our digital environment and reach and maintain success over a continued period. For this, we will:

As of December 2022, 20% of internal-facing dynamic ICT are fully accessible to all users (estimated by using a representative sample methodology), and we are currently collecting data on the state of external-facing dynamic ICT as well as internal and external-facing static content.

Barrier 8: Internal and external-facing dynamic ICT solutions are not accessible to all users.

Action 13
Over the next three years, we will:

  • complete our review of existing applications to identify existing barriers and work to remove them to make these solutions accessible to all users;
  • research, procure, certify, and deploy accessibility development and testing tools to better enable IT developers to effectively build accessible ICT solutions;
  • perform request for proposals for enterprise-wide automated accessibility testing solutions to help better identify existing accessibility barriers in ICT solutions; and,
  • work toward making 60% of all internal-facing dynamic ICT accessible to all users by December 2025 and making all ICT accessible to all users by December 2029.

Timeline: December 2025

Action 14
We will develop and implement an accessibility compliance, auditing, and tracking system. This system will give CRA employees, IT solution owners, and senior management a single point of entry to report, prioritize, and address accessibility barriers found in our IT solutions.

Timeline: September 2023

Action 15
We will review accessibility testing and development tool requirements. As well, we will evaluate, update, and purchase testing and development tools, as required, to ensure that effective testing and development tools are available to create accessible ICT.

Timeline: December 2025

Barrier 9: Accessibility is not fully integrated into our IT governance and policy instruments.

Action 16
We will ensure we incorporate accessibility into ICT governance and corporate policy instruments (directives, standards, and guidelines). This will be consistent with an agency-wide approach to reviewing our policies, directives, programs, service delivery channels, and operational procedures in addition to ensuring we include persons with disabilities into the process whenever possible.

Timeline: December 2025

Action 17
We will add project gating frameworks for accessibility into IT solution repositories, update the software certification process to include accessibility assessments, develop accessibility statement guidelines for IT solutions, and ensure we include persons with disabilities into the process whenever possible.

Timeline: December 2025

Barrier 10: Static content in internal- and external-facing static ICT solutions is not accessible to all users.

Action 18
We will complete our review of existing static ICT solutions to identify and remove existing barriers and make static ICT solutions accessible to all users. We will do this by:

  • setting baselines through an updated web accessibility assessment;
  • updating, creating, and documenting a process for ongoing IT audits (manual and automatic testing);
  • expanding user experience methodology to include testing with people with disabilities; and,
  • ensuring we consider accessibility at every step of our design and production processes.

Timeline: June 2023

Action 19
We will put a process in place to ensure that new static content design patterns (internal and external) are accessible by design and that these design patterns and components follow consistent accessibility standards and are tested for accessibility compliance before deployment.

Timeline: June 2023

Action 20
We will ensure that accessibility is integrated into our guidance materials by including accessibility guidelines in our User-Centred Design Guide for static content design and UX research and testing. This will build a culture of accessibility and guide accessible design.

Timeline: June 2023

6.4 Communications other than ICT

Through consultations with persons with disabilities, the CRA has identified accessibility barriers for communications other than ICT, particularly regarding plain language and the availability of diverse communications options. This section focuses on applying plain language, mailing letters, and engaging stakeholders.

Barrier 11: Internal and public communication products are not accessible to all users.

Action 21
The CRA will improve the accessibility of internal and external communications materials by:

  • improving accessibility for agency-wide internal and external communications, such as ensuring they are concise and use consistent formatting, providing transcripts or alt-text for videos and graphic elements for our internal and external web pages, and ensuring visual elements are accessible;
  • reviewing key communications materials to identify gaps in providing accessible communications;
  • co-creating communications materials with people with disabilities for people with disabilities;
  • improving awareness that information is available in alternate formats when requested (for example, in response to access to information requests); and,
  • providing accessible options such as sign language interpretation, closed captioning and simultaneous interpretation (including for events such as focus groups, town halls, webinars, and ministerial events).

Timeline: December 2024

Barrier 12: Lack of plain language in internal and public communications materials.

Action 22
We will ensure we use plain language for internal and public communications by:

  • improving plain language in all levels of public communications. This includes ensuring that we write speeches and media responses in plain language and that they are accessible; and,
  • making sure we prioritize optimizing content for highly accessed services.

Timeline: December 2025

Barrier 13: External consultations and stakeholder engagement exercises are not always fully accessible.

Action 23
We will conduct a review of our external consultations and stakeholder engagement exercises to ensure they are accessible. The review will identify actionable items for continuous improvement to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to participation for people with disabilities, including offering sign language (ASL and LSQ) interpretation for our activities.

Timeline: December 2024

6.5 The procurement of goods, services, and facilities

The procurement of goods, services, and facilities refers to how the CRA acquires and purchases goods, services, or other items. Our procurement processes and the things we acquire need to be accessible by default.

Barrier 14: Lack of knowledge and resources about accessible procurement for CRA employees and potential vendors.

Action 24
We will strengthen the information available to employees and vendors about accessible procurement by:

  • communicating obligations under the Act to our vendors, acquisition and credit card holders, external stakeholders, and external industry to increase awareness; and,
  • sending letters to active vendors specifying our accessibility obligations to increase awareness and signal the need for change to signal the need for them to consider that the CRA will seek to procure accessible products and services that support (and align with) its legislative obligations under the Act.

Timeline: Letters sent to 100% of active CRA vendors by March 31, 2023.

Action 25
We will provide direction to acquisition card holders and cost centre managers to consider accessibility, particularly when renting facilities for off site meetings or events. Communications will be sent to all acquisition card holders and cost centre managers by March 31, 2024, and cyclical reminders will be sent thereafter.

Timeline: March 2024

Action 26
We will ensure procurement documents are available in accessible formats and convert any inaccessible documents as required. 100% of internal and external procurement templates and documents will be converted to accessible formats by March 31, 2024.

Timeline: March 2024

6.6 The design and delivery of programs and services

The design and delivery of programs and services, whether they be internal or external, must be fully accessible to all.

Barrier 15: The disability tax credit (DTC) application process can be burdensome for persons with disabilities and medical practitioners. An electronic means of submitting DTC applications would streamline the process and remove some of these barriers.

Action 27
We will make the DTC application process digital to help applicants access the DTC, as well as reduce the potential for problems that may delay eligibility decisions or cause appeals. We will do this by:

  • making sure DTC applicants will be able to complete their portion of the application form online. If they do not have access to online services, they will be able to complete their portion of the form over the phone. After completing the form, we will send them a unique reference number and instruct them to give it to their medical practitioner;
  • ensuring that medical practitioners can use the same digital application process and that they can digitally transmit data to us in a secure online session;
  • completing our current plain language review of the DTC text. The DTC program will transition all of its external correspondence to a more modern letter creation system, which most of our other tax programs now use. The new system offers several advantages over the older system, including:
    • Allowing DTC correspondence to be sent digitally;
    • An e-notification feature that mail is ready for applicants to review;
    • Ensures that all correspondence is accessible in the MyAccount portal; and,
  • measuring client satisfaction and collecting suggestions for future development through the feedback mechanism.

Timeline:

  • The DTC application is deemed to be fully accessible by Spring 2023
  • A feedback mechanism to measure client satisfaction and collect feedback to improve DTC online application will be implemented by Spring 2023
Barrier 16: Persons with disabilities experience challenges when interacting with us, including when speaking with our contact centre agents.

Action 28
We will start reviewing the channels used by clients to contact us to better identify accessibility barriers and address gaps as part of our work on the modernization of contact centres and our whole-of-agency approach to prioritizing and executing service improvements that are accessible for everyone.

Timeline: Review of channels to be completed by March 2024, including a prioritized list of initial actions, policy or procedural changes required to remove barriers.

Action 29
With the support of an external contractor, we will identify internal accessibility barriers related to the our individual and business tax and benefit enquiries contact centres. This work will lead to a in-depth report about the state of Contact Centre systems and processes, as well as a roadmap demonstrating the most appropriate way to move forward in remedying identified issues.

Timeline: In-depth report on the state of contact centre systems/processes will be finalized, including a roadmap to address issues identified in the report, by February 2023

Barrier 17: Persons with disabilities who use assistive technology are limited in their options to contact us online. As a result, they may not be able to access services.

Action 30
We will strengthen our online service offerings by:

  • introducing chat services, including a chatbot and a live agent chat service, that have the necessary features that persons with vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities can use successfully;
  • identifying common barriers between chatbots and live agent chat services, identifying the accessibility features that will remedy these barriers, and developing accessible business requirements for IT;
  • recruiting testers with disabilities to test the accessibility level of the chatbot during all stages of development and to provide feedback based on their personal experiences; and
  • dedicating IT accessibility testing teams to test the internal and external user interfaces for the live agent chat service.

Timelines:

For the chatbot:

  • Ensure business requirements include accessibility needs for new chat services by August 2023
    • A review of existing chatbot services for accessibility has been completed
    • An action plan for addressing accessibility gaps is underway

For online chat:

  • Ensure business requirements consider accessibility needs for new chat services by October 2023
    • A review of existing online chat services for accessibility is in progress and corrective action will be taken as required
Barrier 18: Few alternatives for providing consent and authorizing a representative.

Action 31
We will find other accommodation measures to serve external clients who are unable to sign forms or represent themselves using our current approaches. We will do this by:

  • evaluating requirements for legal validation;
  • finding a viable way for clients to give consent, for example, in the presence of a witness; and,
  • updating our process to authorize a representative: while there are options that do not require a legal document, many families or guardians have had to pay to get a power of attorney.

Timeline:

  • by November 2024 completion of an options analysis of possible solutions that will provide secure and accessible authorization options, developed through engagement with stakeholders including persons with disabilities;
  • a Roadmap to implement the secure solutions identified will be completed by June 2025; and
  • better communicate the alternate options for authorization to stakeholder groups, including persons with disabilities. First phase to promote current options completed by September 2023. Ongoing communication strategy to correspond with Roadmap.
Barrier 19: Not all persons with disabilities can contact us to provide feedback or make a complaint about the accessibility of CRA programs or services.

Action 32
We will ensure that Service Complaints program web forms are available and accessible to all, including persons with disabilities, and will complete a review of the program and of its service delivery channels to ensure they meet the requirements of the Act.

Timeline: March 2023

Action 33
We will make the Service Complaints process and its associated forms fully accessible, including internal procedures manuals used by employees. Processes and forms will be reviewed with stakeholders and content developers to find interim and long-term solutions to address identified accessibility barriers.

Timeline: March 2023

Barrier 20: Accessibility is not fully integrated into all of our corporate policies, directives, decision-making processes, and procedures.

Action 34
We will review all of our corporate policies to identify which policy instruments do not include accessibility components and how we can fulfill any identified gaps. As well, we will review our decision-making processes, including those for investments.

Timeline: March 2025

Action 35
We will deliver our Integrated Service Strategy, which establishes accessibility for everyone as a principle in whole-of-agency service improvements.

Timeline: April 2023

Barrier 21: Many documents and manuals that the CRA produces do not offer accessibility information or are not offered in accessible formats.

Action 36
We will work to ensure that all documents and resources are fully accessible through the following actions:

  • reviewing forms and processes to find interim and long-term solutions to address identified accessibility barriers;
  • making sure we test all user experience content for accessibility in keeping with Treasury Board's direction and best practices;
  • making sure we offer risk assessment documents in an alternate format; and,
  • using accessible infographics in future statistical reports to make web published data and Open Government reports clearer and more effective to Canadians and to ensure all content is fully accessible.

Timeline: March 2024

6.7 Transportation

Transportation at the CRA mainly refers to the vehicles it owns, leases, or rents (also known as a "fleet") that run between its offices, tax centres and other buildings; for example, trucks that it uses to deliver mail between tax centres and offices.

Barrier 22: Accessibility is currently not considered as part of the development and maintenance of fleet management tools and forms.

Action 37
We will support the creation of accessible tools and resources to manage our fleet by:

  • updating the supporting forms and tools;
  • reviewing fleet management forms and tools to integrate accessibility considerations (for example, the business case for acquiring vehicles); and,
  • making sure that the other tools or documents we use to support fleet management are accessible (for example, authorization or taxable benefits forms and logbooks).

Timeline: Convert 100% of fleet management forms and tools to accessible format by March 31, 2024.

7. Training and Learning on Accessibility

Through internal and external engagement and consultations with persons with disabilities, the CRA has learned that building awareness and knowledge around providing accessible and inclusive services for persons with disabilities is a key area that needs to be improved.

Learning from the knowledge, expertise, and experiences of persons with disabilities is essential to ensure we are fully capable of delivering barrier-free, fair, helpful and respectful services to all Canadians. We are committed to reviewing the training and tools we give to internal and external client-serving employees as part of the implementation of this plan. As well, we will review our ongoing training requirements on our policies, directives, tools, and technologies. Training and learning for employees, managers and executives will be key in creating a culture of accessibility and a move towards accessibility by default.

This gap in knowledge and expertise in accessibility has led to the identification of another barrier, along with three Agency-wide deliverables to make significant strides in this area.

Barrier 23: Insufficient training for CRA employees, managers and executives on how to design and provide barrier-free internal and external services.

Action 38
We recognize how important it is to make sure that taxpayers and employees with disabilities feel respected, understood, and welcomed. We will improve the service provided to persons with disabilities by:

  • Identifying ways to include accessibility awareness training and other specialized training in the learning paths of employees, particularly front-line employees who provide services to the public and those who deliver internal services.
  • Using accessible online or group training tools to raise awareness of the lived experiences of those with visible and non-visible disabilities.

Timeline: Products will continually be developed and published during 2023 and 2024

Action 39
We will provide all employees with relevant accessibility knowledge and tools to provide services to persons with disabilities, whether they be CRA employees or members of the public. This work will include:

  • Ensuring that procedural manuals contain the necessary information or links to information required to guide program officers in treating service feedback received from persons with disabilities;
  • Creating an Accessibility Hub, which will house recommended resources for CRA employees in designing and delivering accessible programs and services;
  • Creating a specialized training program for the employee compensation centre on providing accessible services, co-created with persons with disabilities; and,
  • Expanding training offerings related to the Duty to Accommodate for both managers and employees.

Timeline: Ongoing with publication dates scheduled for 2023 and 2024

Action 40
We will launch resources, tools, and guidance for IT employees on IT accessibility. IT employees will have the resources they need to make internal IT solutions accessible. We will do this by:

  • Promoting IT accessibility guidelines internally to IT employees;
  • Providing current and future IT employees with access to IT accessibility training; and,
  • Developing a centralized knowledge base to host all IT accessibility knowledge and promote accessibility to ensure that all IT professionals consider accessibility in all phases of the software development lifecycle.

Timeline: September 2023

Action 41
We will launch resources, tools, and guidance for our employees on how to create accessible communications such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and emails. We will equip employees with the resources and information they need to make all communications accessible. We will do this by:

  • Promoting IT accessibility guidelines internally to all employees;
  • Making training and support on creating accessible communications available to all employees; and,
  • Updating system defaults to enable accessible functionality whenever possible (for example, using accessible fonts, colours, and closed captioning).

Timeline: December 2025

Action 42
We will review the existing training offered at the CRA on all topics to assess the degree to which it is accessible and take steps to identify solutions, accommodations or alternatives for training that is not currently accessible.

Timeline: December 2023

We know that these deliverables are just a start; the CRA is also considering more training solutions – including on how to better understand the root causes of accessibility issues and how to quickly address them. The Agency will seek out other opportunities for accessibility training and learning, including offering content related to how social factors can influence the experiences that persons with disabilities have with the CRA.

Annex A - Glossary

Ableism

Ableism is a view or attitude that treats people without disabilities as "normal" and those with disabilities as "abnormal," "inferior," or "other." Ableism can be both intentional and unintentional.

Intentional ableism might involve things like:

Unintentional ableism can be just as harmful. It might involve things like:

Source: Guidance on the Accessible Canada Regulations - Consulting persons with disabilities

Accessible Canada Act

Purpose

The purpose of the Accessible Canada Act is to make Canada barrier-free by January 1, 2040. This involves identifying, removing and preventing barriers in federal jurisdiction in the following priority areas:

Principles

The Act is to be implemented in recognition of, and in accordance with, the following principles:

Application

The Act applies to organizations under federal responsibility, including:

The Act also applies to parliamentary entities, with a tailored approach to respect parliamentary privilege. Parliamentary entities include the:

Source: Summary of the Accessible Canada Act

Accessibility Plans

The Act requires that organizations:

Source: Summary of the Accessible Canada Act

Accessibility

The degree to which a product, service, program or environment is available to be accessed or used by all.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Accessibility Centre of Expertise and Agency Secretariat (ACEAS)

CRA's ACEAS serves as the central coordinating body for accessibility at the CRA and provides organizational leadership and guidance. The ACEAS works with CRA program and service areas to help them fulfill their legislative obligations under the Act and foster collaboration across the CRA on accessibility in internal and external services.

The ACEAS is responsible for writing the CRA's Accessibility Plans and Progress Reports, ensuring that feedback mechanisms are in place for accessibility, undertaking consultations with employees and the public, and working with other government departments to share information, best practices and lessons learned on delivering barrier-free services for Canadians.

Accommodation

The process and implementation of changes to a job, tasks, and/or to the environment in which the job is accomplished that enable employees to perform job duties productively, and maximize participation in the workplace. Accommodation options generally fall under three main categories: adjustments to the work schedule, adjustments to the job duties/activities, and adjustment to the work environment.

Sources: Workplace Management – Glossary of Definitions; Employee accommodation process

Assistive or adaptive device/technology

A device or system designed to help a person to perform a task, including assistive equipment (for example, canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, hearing aids and personal emergency response systems) as well as IT-related items (for example, computer screen-reading software).

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Barrier

Anything that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with an impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation. Barriers can be physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Change management

Change management refers to the use of a comprehensive and structured approach to prepare and support people to adopt change in order to achieve the intended business results and outcome. Change involves all of us, whether directly or indirectly.

Successful change adoption requires people to modify their behaviours in order to adopt the new tool, process or culture being put in place. In order for projects to be successful, change management recognises the coordination of several key roles in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

Clients

Individuals, businesses or their representatives served by or using services provided by a government department.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART)

The live, word-for-word transcription of speech to text so that individuals can read what is being said in group settings and at personal appointments on a laptop or a larger screen. CART services can be provided on-site or remotely, in both English and French, via a secure website.

Source: Canadian Hearing Services

Consultations

Consultation involves communicating with stakeholders to gather comments, opinions, and other information. Stakeholders are the people affected by a policy, program, practice, or service.

Source adapted from: Guidance on the Accessible Canada Regulations - Consulting persons with disabilities

Canada Revenue Agency

CRA Mission

Administer tax, benefits, and related programs, and ensure compliance on behalf of governments across Canada, thereby contributing to the ongoing economic and social well-being of Canadians.

CRA Vision

Trusted, fair, and helpful by putting people first.

CRA Values

Integrity - We establish and preserve trust with all stakeholders by applying the law fairly and upholding our standards.

Professionalism - We are knowledgeable, accurate, conscientious, innovative, and service-oriented.

Respect - We interact with people in a way that makes them feel heard and valued. We listen and respond judiciously.

Collaboration - We recognize and act on opportunities to work together to deliver the Agency's mandate. We consult, and share ideas, fostering innovation to improve the service experience, both internally and externally.

Source: About the Canada Revenue

Department

Any of:

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Designated groups

Groups defined by the Employment Equity Act, including: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Disability

Any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment, or a functional limitation, whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person's full and equal participation in society.

Source: Accessible Canada Act

Disability type

A form of limitation, be it physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory or other.

In its 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, Statistics Canada used screening questions to identify the following 10 types of disability:

The screening questionnaire also contained a question concerning any other health problem or condition that has lasted or is expected to last for six months or more. This question was meant to be a catch-all in case the 10 disability types did not cover the respondent's situation. This question is associated with an 11th "unknown" disability type.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Disability severity

The extent of a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory or other limitation.

Statistics Canada's 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability calculated for each person the level of difficulty experienced in performing certain tasks and the frequency of activity limitations. To simplify the concept of severity, four severity classes were established:

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Discrimination

Treating someone differently or unfairly because of a personal characteristic or distinction, which, whether intentional or not, has an effect that imposes disadvantages not imposed on others or that withholds or limits access that is given to others.

There are 13 prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act (that is, based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics (including a requirement to undergo a genetic test or disclose the results of a genetic test), disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered).

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Diversity

The inclusion of different types of people. A diverse workforce in the public service is made up of individuals who have an array of identities, abilities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, perspectives and experiences that are representative of Canada's current and evolving population.

Source: Building a Diverse and Inclusive Public Service: Final Report of the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion

Duty to consult

Under the Accessible Canada Act, a regulated entity must consult persons with disabilities in the preparation of its accessibility plan and every updated version of its accessibility plan.

Source: Accessible Canada Act

Employee

Any person employed by a regulated entity described in paragraph 7(1)(e) or (f) of the Accessible Canada Act and includes a dependent contractor as defined in subsection 3(1) of the Canada Labour Code, but excludes:

(a) a person employed under a program designated by the employer as a student employment program; and

(b) a student employed solely during the student's vacation periods.

Source: Accessible Canada Regulations

Feedback

A process for receiving feedback about the following and for dealing with that feedback:

(a) the manner in which the regulated entity is implementing its accessibility plan; and

(b) the barriers encountered by persons that deal with the regulated entity.

Source: Accessible Canada Act, Part 4, subsection 43(1)

Hiring

Appointments that added to the employee population in the past fiscal year that involve:

Staffing measures the flow of employees into the public service and may include more than one appointment per person per year.

Source: Human Resources Branch, CRA

Inclusion

The act of including someone or something as part of a group. An inclusive workplace is fair, equitable, supportive, welcoming and respectful.

Inclusion recognizes, values and leverages differences in identities, abilities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, experiences and perspectives that support and reinforce Canada's evolving human rights framework.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Indigenous peoples

A collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. The Constitution of Canada recognizes three distinct groups of Indigenous (Aboriginal) peoples:

Increasingly, and in keeping with international agreements, the term "Indigenous peoples" is being used instead of "Aboriginal peoples" except when referencing legislative requirements in the Employment Equity Act.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

"Nothing Without Us"

A key principle of the Accessible Canada Act, which means that persons with disabilities should be consulted when developing laws, policies and programs that impact them. In keeping with this principle, the Government of Canada works with persons with disabilities and organizations who advocate on their behalf, to better understand the full diversity of the community it serves.

Source: Guidance on the Accessible Canada Regulations- Consulting persons with disabilities

Persons with disabilities

Persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and who a) consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, or b) believe that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment.

Persons with disabilities include persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace, as well as clients engaging with Canada Revenue Agency programs and services.

Source adapted from: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Note: For the purposes of the CRA's Accessibility Plan a person with a disability is anyone who identifies as having a disability based on the definition in the Accessible Canada Act.

Persons with Disabilities Network

The CRA's Persons with Disabilities Network plays an important role in shaping accessibility at the CRA. The Network is comprised of employees with disabilities that have lived experience with accessibility barriers, have insights and experiences to share in helping remove barriers, and are also taxpayers themselves.

Promotions

An appointment to a position at a higher pay level, either within the same occupational group or subgroup or in another group or subgroup.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Public service positions

Positions that are in or under:

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Self-declaration

Applicants voluntarily providing information on their membership in designated group(s) under the Employment Equity Act, in appointment processes. This can be for statistical purposes related to appointments and in the case of processes that target employment equity groups, to determine eligibility.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Self-identification

Employees voluntarily providing information on their membership in designated group(s) under the Employment Equity Act for statistical purposes in analyzing and monitoring the progress of employment equity groups in the federal public service and for reporting on workforce representation.

Source: Glossary: Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada

Annex B - Stakeholder Consultation Activity List

This annex outlines the various consultations, engagements, and research used to develop the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) 2023-2025 Accessibility Plan:

Internal Surveys, Consultations, and Research

2019 CRA accessibility surveys - What we heard report

In 2019, the CRA surveyed employees who identified as persons with disabilities and their managers to better understand the barriers that these employees face within the organization. As well, this survey gathered feedback on implementing workplace accommodations. These consultations highlighted that inclusion in the workplace and career development are of significant concern to employees with disabilities. Respondents added that we can improve by promoting a culture that encourages empathy, respect for, and appreciation of others, particularly persons with disabilities.

Public service employee surveys

The 2020 Public Service Employee Survey took place from November 30, 2020 to January 29, 2021. The survey was overseen by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. This comprehensive survey measured federal government employees' opinions about their engagement, leadership, workforce, workplace, workplace well-being, and compensation. Survey results include the unique workplace experience of persons with disabilities.

A total of 188,786 employees in 87 federal departments and agencies responded to the 2020 Public Service Employee Survey, for a response rate of 61%. 8.9% of those respondents who answered the question "Are you a person with a disability?" identified as living with a disability.

The CRA's Persons with Disabilities Network

The Accessibility Centre of Expertise and Agency Secretariat (ACEAS) meets with the Network on a weekly basis to discuss the Agency's accessibility activities. Members of the Network contributed to identifying barriers and actions for the CRA's Accessibility Plan, and provided feedback that guided the development of the Accessibility Plan.

CRA Employees with Disabilities

In August 2022, the CRA shared a preliminary draft of the Accessibility Plan and requested feedback from employees with disabilities. Respondents felt overall that the Plan captured the most important barriers to accessibility for persons with disabilities, but it could be improved by clarifying actions and outcomes. They also highlighted the importance of culture change, education, and greater support for employees with disabilities in terms of hiring, promotion, and retention.

Board of Management

The CRA's Board of Management reinforces the Agency's commitment to being a world-class tax and benefit administration. The Board also supports the Agency's transformation, to further improve, accelerate, and excel, especially in the areas of service, people, financial resources, integrity and security, and innovation. The Board is responsible for developing the Agency's Corporate Business Plan which provides an overview of the CRA's objectives, strategies, performance expectations and financial projections.

The Board of Management was consulted on the direction of this Accessibility Plan and its key elements.

Surveys, Consultations, and Research involving the Public

Review of public programs and services

In July 2021, CRA employees did a review to identify accessibility barriers in the CRA's public-facing programs and services. The review found the following gaps:

Interviews with community organizations

In winter 2021-2022, the CRA interviewed community organizations from across Canada that support persons with disabilities in connecting with the CRA on matters related to taxes and benefits. Findings included:

Public consultations with persons with disabilities

In April and May 2022, the CRA held a six-week-long public consultation process to learn about accessibility barriers that persons with disabilities have encountered with the CRA's external programs and services, and how those barriers affected their experiences. The consultation process was designed and facilitated by a neutral third party (Delaney and Associates Inc.), who worked with the CRA to carry out the consultation and to analyze findings.

A total of 627 people participated in the process through virtual group discussions, video and phone interviews, an online questionnaire, and phone and email submissions. The input received from participants was foundational to this Accessibility Plan. While participants shared many barriers and solutions to barriers, three key themes emerged through this process:

Disability Advisory Committee

The Disability Advisory Committee advises the Minister of National Revenue and the CRA on how the CRA can improve the way it administers and interprets tax measures for Canadians with disabilities. The Committee is made up of 12 members and 2 co-chairs and includes professionals from various fields, such as health professionals, lawyers, accountants, and tax professionals, as well as advocates of the disability community, representatives of Indigenous communities, and persons with disabilities.

In 2022, the CRA met with the Disability Advisory Committee during the development of the Accessibility Plan, including:

External Advisory Panel on Service

The CRA's External Advisory Panel on Service supports the CRA service transformation efforts by providing advice on emerging trends, plans, and practices in service design and delivery. Chaired by the CRA's Chief Service Officer, the Panel is comprised of senior leaders and experts from the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors with expertise in digital services, client-centric service design, and innovation.

The CRA presented an overview of multiple service projects, including the Accessibility Plan, to the Panel. The Panel discussed how client and digital services go hand-in-hand, how to ensure clients have the resources to use digital solutions (such as access, affordability, knowledge) and that no unintended barriers are created for those who require different channels.

Annex C - Timeline of Key Accessibility Activities since 2019

2019

2020

2021

2022

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: