Foreword by the Chair

Suzanne Gouin, Chair, Board of Management

Suzanne Gouin
Chair, Board of Management

In 2017-2018, the Board of Management (Board) remained committed to fulfilling its legislated responsibilities under the Canada Revenue Agency Act by engaging and guiding Agency executives and employees to achieve the strategic priorities outlined in the 2017-2018 Corporate Business Plan.

I was appointed as the Chair of the Board in August 2017. The Board of Management, under the leadership of my predecessor, Mr. Rick Thorpe, ensured the CRA was on a journey towards service excellence and being a world-class tax and benefit administration. I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Thorpe for his leadership in setting the Board's priorities for 2017-2018.

During this period, the Board remained focused on its five strategic priorities: service to Canadians, integrity and security, people management, innovation, and resource management. The Board kept itself abreast on key Agency risks and the strategies in place to mitigate those risks.

The Board played its oversight role by reviewing and monitoring various Agency initiatives identified in the 2017-2018 Corporate Business Plan and in the Government of Canada's result framework, through its quarterly dashboard. The Board ensured that Agency's performance targets were realistic, measurable, and were linked to the outcomes expected by Canadians. The Board also monitored Agency's financial performance to ensure optimal resource utilization.

Board members actively monitored targets of budgetary focus as well as fulfilment of the Minister's mandate, and fully supported the CRA's vision to ensure the CRA is a world-class tax and benefit administration, where taxpayers feel like valued clients.

The Board aggressively monitored the CRA's timely implementation of its action plan to address the recommendations from the Auditor General of Canada's report regarding the objections and appeals process at the CRA to ensure a timely response to taxpayer objections. The CRA achieved a reduction of 11,025, or 21%, in its inventory of outstanding objections.

In November 2017, the Auditor General tabled his report in Parliament on the Agency's call centres. To oversee the Agency's timely response to the Auditor General's recommendations and ensure call centre service excellence for Canadians, the Board established a Call Centre Advisory Subcommittee. This subcommittee provided oversight of the strategy and implementation of the Agency's call centre action plan, as well as oversight of the Agency's implementation of recommendations from the Auditor General's report.

The Board continued to encourage innovation across the Agency with respect to offering taxpayers new and improved digital services, increasing the Agency's use of data analytics and artificial intelligence to better serve Canadians. This included encouraging the Agency to prepare for and leverage emerging and disruptive technologies, such as Blockchain and digital currency, all with a view of ensuring the integrity and security of the information entrusted to the CRA, by Canadians.

To ensure the Agency's readiness to respond to and adopt these emerging and disruptive technologies, the Board established a Blockchain Advisory Subcommittee to oversee and support the Agency in developing and implementing a strategy for the Agency's adoption of blockchain technology, in line with broader Government of Canada strategies.

The Board continued to build strong working relationships with the Commissioner and members of the senior management team, and pushed for continued efforts to work horizontally across the Agency in view of streamlining and improving service.

The Board continued to underscore the importance of the Agency's human resources, and received regular updates from the senior Agency management to ensure the Agency employees impacted by the Phoenix pay system, were well supported. The Board approved and monitored the Agency Workforce Plan 2017-2018 to ensure the CRA has a skilled, multi-talented, and diverse workforce and leaders for the future.

Board members participated in director orientation and development events. They engaged in discussions with senior Agency management and staff, and received excellent support and timely information, which helped the Board in realizing its oversight responsibilities.

On behalf of the CRA Board of Management, I am pleased to recommend this report to the Minister of National Revenue, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, for tabling in Parliament.

Original signed

Suzanne Gouin
Chair, Board of Management

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