Departmental Plan 2017-18

Key risks

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This page includes a variety of images that go from left to right. The farthest left always describes the Risk.

The middle images includes further description of the Key risk as well as the CRA's risk response strategy.

The right hand of the page includes text that describes the link to the core responsibilities identified in the CRA's departmental results framework and to which CRA strategic priority it aligns with as well as whether it is mentioned in the Minister's mandate letter.

In that order, left to right, the following text appears.

first row

Risk: Cyber-security there is risk that cyber threats will compromise CRA services and taxpayer information

Protecting services and taxpayer information from external attacks is a priority of both the Government of Canada and the CRA. A major area of focus for the Agency is its commitment to upholding its reputation as a trusted and fair tax administrator; in other words, maintaining the public trust. A taxpayer who trusts the CRA and perceives they have been treated fairly  is more likely to comply.

Risk response strategy: As the sophistication and volume of cyber threats continue to increase, the CRA remains proactive and forward-looking in its information technology (IT) security. The CRA has an IT security plan with several initiatives that will further enhance how it protects its data and technology assets and decrease exposure to this risk.

Core responsibility: Tax, Benefits, and Internal Services. CRA Priority: Integrity and Security

2nd row

Risk: Pace of delivery there is a risk that the speed and expected outcomes in implementing operational change will not respond to the expectations of Canadians and of the Government Pace of delivery is a risk given the number and complexity of Minister and  Budget 2016 commitments.  If not monitored closely, implementing these organizational changes could affect the Agency’s ability to meet expected outcomes. 

Risk response strategy: The CRA is addressing this risk by implementing the Results and Delivery Policy to ensure its key priorities are met and communicated to Canadians. The Agency has developed a new reporting framework to drive results and bring focus to ministerial priorities and Budget 2016 commitments.

Core responsibilities: Tax and Benefits, the Mandate letter commitment: Improve service to  Canadians to ensure
the CRA is fair, helpful and accessible and the CRA priority of service.

3rd row

Risk: Offshore assets and tax planning:  there is a risk that taxpayers will house their assets outside of Canada so that the CRA cannot identify income earned and collect taxes owing.

Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance by individuals and businesses  are costly to government and taxpayers, and reduce the fairness and  integrity of the tax system. The CRA is committed to enhance its  efforts to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.

Risk response strategy
The Agency’s exposure to this risk will be reduced through Budget 2016 commitments including hiring additional auditors and specialists, developing robust business intelligence infrastructure, increasing verification activities and improving the quality of investigative work that targets criminal tax evaders.

Core responsibility: Tax, The Mandate letter commitment to Crack down on tax evaders and work with international  partners to adopt strategies to combat tax avoidance

The CRA priority of Compliance.

4th row

Risk: Tax debt: there is a risk that the growth of the tax debt will outpace the growth of revenues.
The success of the CRA’s work in combatting aggressive tax planning,  the underground economy and tax evasion is diminished when the CRA does not collect assessed revenues. Enhancing tax collection is a core priority for the CRA and a major initiative of Budget 2016 commitments. 

Risk response strategy
The Agency’s risk exposure to tax debt will be reduced by improving its ability to collect outstanding tax debts through various initiatives and strategies, including commitments as part of Budget 2016. These actions will complement existing efforts to encourage earlier payment of outstanding tax liabilities and work with those who cannot pay the full amount when due.

Core responsibility: Tax Government wide priority: inclusive and sustainable economic growth

The CRA's priority of Compliance.    

5th row

Risk: Service channels: there is a risk that the CRA’s service channels will not evolve to meet the expectations of taxpayers, businesses and benefit recipients.

The CRA places a high priority on providing information and services,  meeting diverse taxpayer needs, and treating all Canadians fairly,  equally and respectfully. It is a priority for the CRA to ensure that it is continually improving its service channels to help taxpayers meet their tax obligations and receive the benefits they are entitled to. 

Risk response strategy: The CRA is working to improve its service model by giving timely information, making it easy to comply, responding to the expectations of Canadians, and providing fair and impartial review via several service channels including digital, telephone, written and targeted outreach.

Core responsibility: Tax and benefits

The Mandate letter commitment: Improve service to Canadians to ensure the CRA is fair, helpful and accessible and the CRA priority of Service


The CRA proactively scans, identifies, assesses and addresses risks, both external and internal to the organization, in a constantly changing environment. It does this through its Corporate Risk Profile. The risk profile ensures that the CRA has a risk management process that helps the Agency protect the integrity and fairness of the Canadian tax system, identify efficiencies in operational processes, and achieve results. In monitoring the risks that could negatively affect its reputation, the CRA ensures that these risks are communicated to decision makers and managed effectively. Focusing on the top risks and putting plans into motion to help reduce risk exposure or to seize opportunities for innovation helps position the Agency to deliver on its strategic priorities in support of its mandate to Canadians.

This year, five key risks were identified: cyber-security, pace of delivery, offshore assets/tax planning, tax debt, and service channels. The prioritization of these five risks reflects their potential impact on the CRA's commitment to service, compliance, integrity, security, and innovation. By making sure that its risks are properly identified and managed, the CRA continues to be well positioned to deliver on its mandate and to maintain the trust and confidence of taxpayers.

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