Agency governance and the Board of Management

Introduction

Board of Management members are appointed by the Governor in Council; the Board's mandate is set out in the Canada Revenue Agency Act.

The Board of Management (Board) of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) consists of 15 members appointed by the Governor in Council. They include the Chair, the Commissioner, a director nominated by each province, one director nominated by the three territories in turn, and two directors nominated by the federal government. Members of the Board bring a diverse business and community perspective from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors to the work of the CRA.Corporate Business Plan

The Canada Revenue Agency Act states that the Board is responsible for overseeing the organization and administration of the CRA and the management of its resources, services, property, personnel, and contracts. It undertakes its oversight role in cooperation with CRA management to make sure the CRA fosters sound management and service delivery to Canadians.

BOARD PRIORITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2017-2018

In support of the CRA during this reporting period, the Board continued to provide oversight in all areas of its statutory responsibilities and accomplished its objectives in line with the Board's priorities as stated in the CRA's Corporate Business Plan (CBP) 2017-2018 to 2019-2020. Details on the Board's accomplishments in priority areas are provided below. (Note: the 2017-2018 fourth quarter meeting was held in April 2018.)

STRATEGIC DIRECTION

The Board's priorities for 2017-2018 to 2019-2020 and the CRA priorities for this planning period remained aligned and consistent with previous years' priorities. The Board's priorities were: service to Canadians, integrity and security, people management, innovation, and resource optimization.

The Board remained committed to supporting the Agency in realizing the Minister's mandate, to enhance service to Canadians, and treat them like valued clients not just taxpayers. The Board continued to monitor the Agency's performance through various reporting mechanisms such as its quarterly performance dashboard, regular progress reports, and timely discussions on other key files under its oversight. The Board's Audit committee made sure financial resources were managed in an efficient and effective manner by approving the annual financial statements, reviewing and approving internal audit reports, and monitoring the implementation of the Auditor General's recommendations; while the Human Resources Committee made sure the CRA recruited and retained the right people with the right skill sets, and that they were managed efficiently in a work environment free of harassment and discrimination. The Resources Committee ensured optimum resource utilization with a focus on project management, cybersecurity, and the integrity and security of taxpayers' information. The Board's Governance Committee oversaw the enhancement and implementation of governance best practices to support efficient Board operations, including director orientation and development.

SERVICE TO CANADIANS

The Board continued to support the CRA's efforts to enhance service to Canadians and supported the appointment of the Agency's first Chief Service Officer, to develop and implement a service framework which puts taxpayers and benefit recipients at the core of its business.

The Board ensured the progress and results of the Minister's mandate. Specifically, the Board ensured communication with Canadians was easy to understand; telephone service was accessible and accurate; eligible taxpayers received the benefits and credits they were entitled to; and enhanced outreach to Indigenous peoples and vulnerable groups through the Agency's partnerships with Employment and Social Development Canada and the growth of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

In spring 2017, with the full support of the Board, the CRA continued its pursuit of excellence with the world-class tax and benefit administration (WCTBA) initiative. This initiative commenced by consulting with employees to learn their thoughts on the CRA as a world-class organization. Furthermore, the CRA launched an objective assessment of the Agency using an internationally recognized tool developed by the International Monetary Fund called the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT). Both of these approaches identified strengths and areas for improvement. The Board will continue to monitor and guide the CRA in its journey to improve service and become a WCTBA.

Following the 2017 Auditor General's report on the CRA's call centres, the Board established a call centre advisory subcommittee which worked closely with the Agency's management to oversee the strategy and implementation of an action plan for CRA call centres. Despite project delays in the implementation of the Hosted Contact Centre Service (HCCS), the action plan resulted in the CRA  hiring additional call centre agents to improve accessibility for individual and business clients during the 2018 tax filing period; and using a new approach to training call centre agents to improve accuracy of the information we provide to taxpayers. The Board's Audit Committee will continue to monitor the implementation of the Auditor General's recommendations, and the Resources Committee will continue to monitor the implementation of the HCCS.

The Board encouraged the CRA to continue growing its digital service offerings, to make it easier for taxpayers to file their returns. For example, the CRA launched a new application called CRA BizApp, which allows Canadian business owners to check their recent transactions, verify their balance owing, and make payments. The CRA also introduced the Express NOA service, which allows individuals and their authorized representatives to view their notice of assessment right after they file electronically; this allows them to view the amount owing or the expected refund.

The Board oversaw not only the CRA's increased and enhanced digital services, but its service to low to modest income Canadians through the CRA's Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) including in-person outreach to Indigenous communities.

The focus of the annual Board Planning Meeting in September 2017 was once again on enhancing service to Canadians. The Board engaged in discussions to better understand environmental imperatives for the CRA, examined strategies for achieving horizontality across the Agency, treating taxpayers as valued clients and striving to be a world-class tax and benefit administration. Board members also invited the Agency's senior management team to participate in discussions aimed at helping the Agency better articulate its raison d'être to both employees and taxpayers in order to foster a culture of service, enhance employees' understanding of what it means to be client service oriented and continue to evolve its service offerings to Canadians.

The Board strongly believes that a fair and impartial review of taxpayer disputes and objections in a timely manner is a fundamental taxpayer right. During this period, the Board received regular progress reports on the implementation of the Comprehensive Business Plan for appeals, and the CRA reduced its objections inventory and also established client oriented and transparent service standards for objections and for processing requests for taxpayer relief.

INTEGRITY AND SECURITY

The Board received regular updates on all aspects of the CRA's Security Program, including cybersecurity, information security, personnel security, internal investigations, physical security, emergency management, and identity access management. The Board also reviewed and approved the annual CRA IT Strategic Plan 2017-2018 to 2019-2020, and supported the CRA's Data Security Initiative to detect and prevent internal fraud and data misuse.

The Board received the CRA Integrity Framework in 2017-2018, with a continued focus on values and ethics and post-employment. The Board reviewed and approved changes to the Directive on Conflict of Interest, as well as other corporate policy instruments and practices in the CRA.

The Board received annual updates by the CRA's Chief Privacy Officer on the CRA's efforts to reduce backlog of Access to Information (ATIP) and Privacy (PA) requests. This also included highlights from the 2016-2017 annual report on the administration of the ATIP and PA tabled in Parliament in July 2017 and it supports the Government of Canada's commitment to an open and transparent government.

PEOPLE MANAGEMENT

The Board reviewed and approved the CRA's 2017-2018 to 2019-2020 Agency Workforce Plan, and monitored human resources (HR) performance through quarterly updates on the following people management aspects: the CRA workforce; workplace; succession planning and recruitment in the Agency; HR modernization initiatives; respectful workplace and well‑being.

The Board continued to support strategic recruitment efforts to make sure the CRA has the workforce it needs to deliver timely client-centered service now and in the future. Specifically, in light of Budget 2017, the Agency hired specialists such as behavioural economists, data analysts, forensic accountants, project managers and auditors, to combat tax evasion and tax avoidance, and to improve debt collections.

The Board closely monitored the progress of the Service Renewal initiative, which consolidated processing in National Verification and Collections Centres to better align its operations with actual business as the Agency transitions from an organization that used to handle mostly paper-based transactions to one that that is more electronic/digital. Workload transfers to these sites is virtually complete and the Board received quarterly reports including impacts on the workforce and service targets.

The Board also monitored emerging issues in people management, including the impact of the Phoenix pay system on CRA employees. The Board directed the CRA to take measures to minimize impacts on its workforce, to address pay issues on a timely manner and to continue to communicate with employees.

The Board oversaw the CRA's efforts towards identifying and developing future CRA leaders by ensuring the Canada School of Public Service continues to provide relevant and accessible learning for its employees. As well, the Board supported the Agency in the introduction and use of character-based leadership for recruitment.

During this period, the Board recommended key mandates to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada (TBS) and continued to encourage the CRA in having positive and constructive relations with the unions. The Board supported the CRA in reaching an agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE) and in signing the new collective agreement with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) for the Audit, Financial and Scientific Group (AFS). The Board believes healthy and productive labour-management relations can and should form a cornerstone of good human resources management.

INNOVATION

The Board continued to focus on innovation in the CRA. This year, members received an update from the CRA's Accelerated Business Solutions Laboratory focussing on the CRA's use of behavioural insights, ethnography, and advanced data analytics to inform its business decisions.

The Board supports the CRA's Business Intelligence Vision, which underpins an integrated, horizontal approach to data mining. In support of this vision, a Chief Data Officer was appointed to oversee and implement this approach and the Board will continue to monitor the data strategy to make sure data continues to drive the CRA business.

The Board recognizes the importance of business intelligence not only to detect non-compliance but also to enhance service to Canadians. To that end, it established a Blockchain Advisory subcommittee to help the CRA in developing and implementing strategies for its adoption of blockchain technology, in line with broader Government of Canada strategies.

RESOURCE OPTIMIZATION

During this period, the Board continued to provide fiscal oversight as a major fiduciary responsibility. Members examined the year's Strategic Investment Plan, quarterly dashboards on all major projects over $20 million, quarterly resource management reports on the Agency's financial position, and approved the CRA's annual financial statements which obtained an unmodified audit opinion from the Office of the Auditor General.

As part of its fiduciary responsibilities, the Board also considered the Corporate Risk Profile risk action plan in June 2017, and a new Corporate Risk Profile for the new fiscal year in April 2018. The Board's Audit Committee regularly reviewed internal audit reports and evaluations.

During this period, the Board oversaw CRA activities funded by Budget 2016 and Budget 2017 for improving tax collections, cracking down on tax evasion, and combatting tax avoidance, client-focused services for Canadians and Canadian businesses, including expansion of compliance and audit measures.

CONCLUSION

Group picture of the Board members

The Board accomplished its strategic objectives for 2017-2018 and it is committed to fulfilling its oversight responsibilities and providing strategic advice and guidance to the Agency. The Board thanks Commissioner of Revenue, Mr. Bob Hamilton for his leadership and is grateful for the excellent cooperation and support received from senior management and employees of the CRA in achieving its fiduciary obligations.

Board membership

(Back row, left to right): Kathy Bouey, Dawn Dalley, Gerard Fitzpatrick, Susan Hayes, Mark Dwor, Joyce Sumara, Myles Bourke
(Front row, left to right): Mireille Saulnier, Francine Martel-Vaillancourt, Bob Hamilton, Suzanne Gouin, Stanley Thompson, France-Elaine Duranceau.

The biographical information of the current members of the CRA's Board of Management is available on canada.caxxviii.

Committee membership and director participation

The Board of Management is supported by four committees and two subcommittees: they undertake much of the detailed review of items brought before the Board for its consideration. The following table shows the membership of each committee as well as directors' committee attendance over the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Committee membership and director participation
Board Members Board of Managment (7 meetings)Footnote 1 Audit Committee
(4 meetings)
Governance Committee
(5 meetings)Footnote 2
Human Resources Committee (4 meetings) Resources Committee (4 meetings) Call Centre Advisory Subcommittee (9 meetings)Footnote 3 Blockchain Advisory Subcommittee (3 meetings)Footnote 4
Board members attendance throughout the fiscal yearFootnote 5, taking into consideration departures and appointments.
Kathryn A. Bouey 7/7   1/1 4/4 4/4
8/9 2/3
Myles Bourke  7/7 4/4 5/5   4/4 1/1  
France-Élaine Duranceau   7/7 4/4 5/5     1/1
3/3
Mark Dwor 7/7   5/5   4/4
1/1 3/3
Gerard J. Fitzpatrick   7/7 4/4 1/1   4/4 1/1  
Susan Hayes
7/7   5/5 4/4   1/1  
Francine Martel-Vaillancourt 7/7 4/4 1/1 4/4   8/9  
Mireille A. Saulnier 7/7   5/5 4/4   1/1  
Joyce Sumara
7/7 4/4 1/1   4/4 8/9  
Bob Hamilton 7/7   5/5 4/4 4/4 9/9  
Board members who joined during the fiscal year
Dawn Dalley
7/7     2/2 2/2 1/1  
Suzanne Gouin
4/4 2/2 2/2 2/2 2/2 9/9  3/3
Stanley (Stan) Thompson 4/4         1/1
3/3
Board members who left during the fiscal year
Rossana Buonpensiere 5/5   4/4 3/3   1/1  
Richard (Rick) Thorpe 2/2 2/2 2/2 2/2 2/2    
Norman G. Halldorson
6/6 3/3 4/4     1/1  
Margaret Melhorn
3/3   1/1 2/2 2/2    
Average Attendance Per MeetingFootnote 6 101/101=100% 27/27=100% 47/47=100% 31/31=100% 32/32=100% 52/55=95% 14/15=93%
Governor in Council Rates of Pay
Member Capacity
Per Annum Retainer Per Diem
Board Chair
$14,500 - $17,100 $565 - $665
Committee Chair
$11,100 - $13,000 $565 - $665
Director
$7,300 - $8,600 $475 - $550
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