2017 Report on Public Service Renewal Results
The Canada Revenue Agency is pleased to highlight some recent initiatives that demonstrate the spirit of Public Service Renewal. These five stories highlight the CRA’s innovative approach to creating a healthy workplace that encourages innovation, participation and knowledge-sharing and works to best serve Canadians.
Small Business Support – Liaison Officer service
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one of the main concerns of small business owners is to comply with tax laws. The CRA rose to the occasion by conducting consultations across the country with small and medium businesses to better understand the tax related challenges they faced when setting up their businesses. Based on what the CRA heard during these consultations, the Liaison Officer (LO) service was expanded to personally meet with new entrepreneurs and help them get their tax affairs right from the start. Through on‐site visits and seminars, the CRA’s liaison officers help business owners find the information they need and correct potential errors in their records before they file. This support is offered on a voluntary basis, helping business owners fulfill their tax obligations.
As of November 2017, the CRA has offered a LO visit to over 78,000 unincorporated small business owners across Canada. More than 23,500 visits have taken place so far. Based on a follow-up survey of participants, experiences with the program have been overwhelmingly positive. Client satisfaction with the delivery and value of this program is over 95%. The CRA continues to advance the LO service and is considering offering its services to corporations in the future.
Supporting New Canadians
Canada has been welcoming an increasing number of immigrants and refugees. In Canada, one in five Canadians is foreign-born. As a result the CRA has been working hard to promote awareness of the various benefits and credits available to new Canadians through the tax system.
In addition to making information available in various formats and multiple languages including Arabic, Punjabi and Mandarin, the CRA reached out to its own diverse workforce for help. Employees of the CRA who were comfortable speaking in languages other than French and English were asked if they were willing to act as spokespeople to conduct media interviews with ethnic media outlets. The response was overwhelming. Almost 150 interviews were conducted last year, reaching thousands of new Canadians, all made possible because of the CRA’s diverse workforce and the willingness of its employees to make use of their unique skills.
Serving Indigenous Canadians
The CRA has committed to helping Canadians get the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. A key part of this involves ensuring that Indigenous peoples, organizations, businesses and governments are able to participate fully in the Canadian tax and benefit system.
This begins with a better understanding of the unique challenges faced by Indigenous Canadians in filing their taxes. For the first time in its history, this year the CRA conducted public opinion research with Indigenous communities to better shape CRA communications and services. As a result, the CRA developed resources in a variety of Indigenous languages, including Cree, Micmac, Ojibwa, and Inuktitut. In addition, working in partnership with Service Canada, the CRA reached out to 698 Indigenous communities in the last year to share information about important benefits, to promote free tax clinics through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, and to strengthen the relationship with Indigenous communities.
This direct engagement was an opportunity for Indigenous Canadians to receive information and ask questions face-to-face about the various benefits and credits that they may be entitled to such as the GST/HST credit, the working income tax benefit, the disability tax credit, and the Canada child benefit.
This is a picture of a sunny day in Hopedale Labrador. On the left of the image there is a big red house with balconies overlooking snow fields and a snow covered moutain in the distance. At the bottom of the image are snowbanks.
This is an image of a pamphlet about benefits and credits distributed in Indigenous communities in both English and Inuktitut.
On the left of the image is the English version of the pamphlet. At the top of the pamphlet there is an image of Indigenous children playing hand drums. Over the image is the title of the pamphlet: Benefits and Credits available to you. Below are two columns with text.
In the left column is the following text: “Don’t miss out! You only need to apply once to find out if you are eligible for benefit and credit payments. Then you need to do your taxes every year to continue getting payments, even if your income is tax exempt or you had no income at all. We use the information from your tax return to calculate your federal benefit and credit payments, and any related provincial and territorial payments.”
Below is a table with the title “You could get up to:”The first row in the table indicates “$6,400 - annually per child in Canada child benefit payments”. The second row indicates “$560 - annually in GST/HST credit payments + $147 annually per child.” The third row indicates: “$1,894 - for the working income tax benefit, you could also apply for advance payments”. The fourth indicates “$2,730 - annually in child disability benefit payments if your child is eligible for the disability tax credit”.
In the turquoise column on the right of the English page of the pamphlet the following text is seen: “How do you apply? Find all the information you need on how to apply for benefits and credits at canada.ca/child-family-benefits or call 1-800-387-1193. We can help! If you have a modest income and a simple tax situation, volunteers from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program can do your taxes for you, for free. Find a tax preparation clinic near you at canada.ca/taxes-volunteer.”
On the right of the English pamphlet is the same pamphlet with information written in Inuktitut.
Workplace of Choice
With over 40,000 employees across the country, it is essential for the CRA to recruit and retain talented people who have the skills to help realize the Agency’s mandate. The CRA does this by working hard to create a workplace of choice where employees can thrive and deliver excellent service to Canadians.
This year, the CRA launched a new employee onboarding system called My Guide to ensure a positive and smooth transition for our new recruits and help managers quickly and effectively orient new employees. Also, the CRA has specific programs designed to support persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, LGBTQ+ members, Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, and the well-being and mental health of all employees. And, the CRA supports its middle managers, creating the national Management Group Network (MGN) to serve as a consultative and collaborative professional community of practice for team leaders and managers. The group, made up of more than 4,200, team leaders and managers is represented by 18 members across the country. The MGN focuses on management advocacy opportunities, solution-based recommendations to address identified needs, and innovative practice sharing aligning to the strategic plans and priorities of the Agency. Best of all, youth, managers’ and executives’ networks work hand in hand to build bridges and increase opportunities for horizontal collaboration. All of these examples demonstrate how an inclusive and welcoming workplace is at the heart of the CRA’s focus on its people.
In November 2017, the CRA was recognized for this focus on employees by winning the Top 100 Employers in Canada award, as well as the Top Employers for people over the age of 40, for the first time! It has also been recognized as one of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers for the last five years and one of the Top Employers for Young People for the last four years.
For Canada’s 150th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the Income Tax Act, the CRA created a video to build pride among its employees and to highlight the history and the evolution of serving Canadians with excellence.
National Mental Health Webinar on Suicide Prevention
The CRA has increased its efforts to improve mental health and wellness in the workplace. In addition to having an active senior management champion, and extensive resources available for its employees, a particularly impactful event of the past year was the CRA’s National Mental Health Webinar on Suicide Prevention. The purpose of this event was to:
- Raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention including the ability to recognize when someone is at risk
- Reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and suicide
- Highlight available tools and resources at the CRA to empower and support employees to get the help they may need
- Promote a safe and stigma free workplace
The webinar was held in Ottawa in February 2017 and was broadcasted live nationally in 94 remote sites, reaching over 2,000 employees. In addition, the recorded webinar was made available to staff who were not able to attend, and was promoted during World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th).
The event served to successfully initiate dialogue in the workplace, and highlight what coworkers can do to support their colleagues on the important issue of mental health.
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