Departmental Plan 2017-18
To ensure that Canadians obtain the support and information they need to know what benefits they may be eligible to receive, that they receive their benefit payments in a timely manner, and have avenues of redress when they disagree with a decision on their benefit eligibility.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers a range of ongoing benefits and one-time payment programs for the federal government and the provinces and territories. Benefit programs offered by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments support the economic and social well-being of Canadians across the country. Many Canadians depend on benefit payments for a significant part of their household income. Benefits include the goods and services/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit and the Canada child benefit (CCB), which is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.
The CRA issues close to $29 billion in credit and benefit payments to 13 million Canadians each year. We strive to make the right benefit payment to the right individual at the right time, and to give benefit recipients accessible information and timely responses to their enquiries. The CRA is taking steps to make sure all Canadians, including Canadians with lower incomes, Indigenous peoples, and newcomers, are getting the benefits they are entitled to, in a timely manner.
Further to the successful launch of the Canada child benefit in July 2016, we will continue implementation efforts to increase our outreach activities, focusing on the availability of benefits by proactively reaching out to all Canadians, particularly to vulnerable and Indigenous segments of the population. We are collaborating with other government and non-government partners to develop a broad outreach approach to increase the number of Canadians receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.
During the planning period, the CRA will proactively contact Canadians who are entitled to, but may not be receiving tax benefits. The CRA will continue sending letters to certain Canadians who have not filed an income tax and benefit return, but who are likely to be entitled to receive tax credits, encouraging them to file a return. The Non‐Filer Benefit Letter initiative is a targeted campaign to increase the number of Canadians filing their returns so they receive benefits to which they may be entitled. Annually, the CRA will send reminder letters to potentially eligible non-filers encouraging them to file in order to receive benefits.
As noted earlier, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is a collaborative initiative between the CRA and community organizations. Community partners across Canada host tax preparation clinics and arrange for volunteers to prepare income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals. The CRA provides training, support, and tax preparation software for participating organizations and volunteers. We will increase our support for the program by providing more in-person training and increased partnerships with organizations involved in preparing returns for eligible individuals, including Indigenous peoples, seniors, lower-income earners, and people with disabilities. This direct outreach effort will ensure all segments of the population receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
The CRA is expanding outreach in Indigenous communities, providing information on benefits and credits which individuals may be entitled to receive if they file a tax return.
The CRA's Automated Benefits Application service gives Canadians a quick, easy, secure way to apply for all child benefit programs. We are working toward expanding this service to include the three territories, which would mean eligible Canadians could apply for their child's benefits, including the CCB, as well as any related provincial or territorial benefits, and register the newborn for the goods and services/harmonized sales tax credit in one secure space.
MyBenefits CRA is a web-based mobile app for individual benefit recipients offering a personalized view of benefit and credit payment details. The app is a fast, easy, and secure way to verify the amount and date of upcoming benefit payments. During the planning period, the CRA will continue to enhance MyBenefits CRA by adding features so Canadians can:
- update personal details, including phone number and address
- sign up for direct deposit
- see the breakdown of the provincial/territorial benefits
The CRA has a very sophisticated technology environment with the capacity to handle large volumes of benefit transactions accurately, securely, and on time. We continue to modernize our information technology infrastructure to keep pace with advancements and to protect the integrity of our benefit services. The Benefits System Renewal project will be completed in 2019 and will ensure benefit payments are delivered in the most efficient way possible, while also enabling future growth and excellence in service delivery.
Canadians expect to have timely and accurate responses to their enquiries and to be able to contact the CRA in multiple ways. Often, benefit recipients will call the CRA to seek confirmation of their understanding of information they have read on the web, or to seek assurance their benefit payments will be issued.
In a typical year, the CRA answers over six million calls on the benefit enquiries line and is committed to providing a client-focused approach by responding to all calls within our targeted time frame.
During the planning period, the CRA will strive to provide a more accessible telephone service by:
- modernizing the telephone service, in the longer-term, as part of the Government-wide service strategy. This project will be completed in 2020 and will introduce technologies to improve the quality of the caller experience and, over time, will present a new range of options to improve service and will invite clients to self-serve
- simplifying all benefit notices, including the disability tax credit letter, making them straightforward and easy to read, to potentially reduce the number of calls received for clarification on issues related to benefit entitlement
- improving digital services to make it easier to interact with the CRA from an electronic device. Call centre agents will encourage callers to use the CRA's digital services
- continuing to implement a call-driver reduction strategy, while increasing the number of call agents to improve client service
To make sure Canadians receive the benefits to which they are entitled, the CRA will:
- issue 160,000 letters each year over the planning period through the Non-Filer Benefit Letter initiative
- introduce a new service by 2018 to automatically complete returns (with taxpayer confirmation) for lower or fixed-income Canadians
- take steps to expand the Automated Benefits Application service, Minister Mandate Letter
- complete the Benefits System Renewal project by 2019
- There will be an increase in the number of taxpayers receiving benefits payments
- The number of returns completed through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program will increase by 100,000 by 2020
- Benefit recipients who provide complete and accurate information will receive the proper entitlement
- Payments will be issued to benefit recipients on time
- Canadians will be satisfied with the benefit application processing time
Budgetary financial (in dollars)
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
This image depicts two columns that provide the budgetary financial (in dollars) and human resources (full-time equivalents) numbers that are forecast for the CRA's benefits programs over the 2017 to 2020 planning period. The column on the left, under the image of a dollar sign, provides the following information from top to bottom:
Planned 2017-18 ( Footnote 1)
Planned 2018-19 ( Footnote 1)
Planned 2019-20 ( Footnote 1)
Main Estimates 2017-18 487,819,400
The column on the right, under the image of an abstract representation of a person, provides the following information from top to bottom:
Planned FTEs 2017-18 ( Footnote 2)
Planned FTEs 2018-19 ( Footnote 2)
Planned FTEs 2019-20 ( Footnote 3)
This image depicts three columns that provide information on the CRA's planned results under the Agency's benefits programs. There is also a fourth column on the far left of the page which provides the following statement summarising the goal of the CRA's benefits administration: Canadians receive their rightful benefits in a timely manner.
Reading from left to right, the three planned results columns are titled, respectively, Indicator, Target, and Actual Result.
Reading from left to right, top to bottom, the three columns provide the following information below each title:
Percentage of Percentage of Canada Child Benefit (CCB) recipients who provide complete and accurate 95% N/A (Footnote 1)
information in order to receive the proper entitlement (by March 31, 2018)
Percentage of benefit payments issued to benefit recipients on time (by March 31, 2018) 99% 2013-14: 99.9%
Percentage of respondents satisfied with benefit application processing time (by March 31, 2018) 75% 2013-14: 84.3%
2014-15: N/A (Footnote 2)
2015-16: N/A (Footnote 2)
Percentage of taxpayers (benefit recipients) who filed as a result of targeted CRA intervention 25% N/A (Footnote 3)
(by March 31, 2018)
Information on the CRA's Program Inventory is available in the TBS InfoBasev.
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