Report on Plans and Priorities 2014–15

Program: Internal services

Program description

The CRA's internal services are an important part of the overall effectiveness of its program delivery. Our success as an organization is built on a solid corporate foundation and is sustained by sound financial management, a secure and reliable information technology infrastructure, and a diverse and high-performing workforce. We are committed to integrating our internal services across the full spectrum of our tax and benefit programs as we modernize how we deliver services.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
Main Estimates
planned spending Footnote 1
planned spending Footnote 1
planned spending Footnote 1
831,697,636 836,420,934 809,161,401 800,490,087
Human resources
(full-time equivalents)
2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
7,700 7,721 7,567

What we want to achieve

To ensure cost-effective internal services that contribute to our ability to deliver, and continually improve, services to Canadians, achieve the highest levels of integrity and security and respond swiftly and effectively to those who do not comply.

Strategic context

Our internal services contribute directly to maintaining business sustainability and improving program delivery. The CRA shares the government-wide goal of providing world-class services in a cost-effective manner. The CRA is taking several measures to save on back-office functions that ultimately benefit Canadians by reducing costs and ensuring funding for other government spending priorities.

Employees in the public service are increasingly engaged to contribute ideas to help the federal public service continue to serve Canadians in a responsive, effective, and efficient manner.

Recruitment strategy for the future

Preparing for the future while managing the present is our approach to maintaining a high-performing workforce. The demographics of our workforce, changing job requirements, and the current fiscal situation require us to refine our recruitment strategy. We have identified workforce capacity and capability as an enterprise risk, and we are working to mitigate that risk to ensure quality program delivery now and in the future.

To carry out this plan, we will:

  • assess where we have skill gaps
  • make increased use of postsecondary and targeted mid-career recruitment
  • partner with various stakeholders for recruitment purposes
  • improve our recruitment tools

Blueprint 2020

The CRA supports Blueprint 2020, which provides a long-term vision for Canada's federal public service. Through a dialogue about the future of the public service, CRA employees were asked to contribute their ideas to shape the Public Service of tomorrow.

Over the planning period, we will:

Human resources

The CRA and other federal organizations are undergoing changes which have significant implications for how they manage and organize their human resources function.

Through Blueprint 2020, the CRA identified nine key priorities, including three related to human resources: the competencies system, performance management, and the staffing process. Over the planning period, the CRA intends to find, implement, and monitor solutions to these priorities. We remain committed to maintaining a strong, performance-oriented human resources function.

Strong leaders will serve as catalysts in helping our workforce adapt to change and keep pace with the evolving external environment. As a result, enhancing our approach to developing and maintaining our leadership capacity will remain a priority over the planning period.

The CRA has several mechanisms in place to identify the next generation of leaders and to help employees get or improve their management competencies, including:

Due to the rapid global expansion of information-based transactions, demand for knowledge workers is increasing. Over the next two years, we will develop and implement comprehensive human resources strategies to broaden our base of knowledge workers. We also have to ensure the long-term sustainability of our programs and services, especially as changes occur, and possibly at a more accelerated rate. We intend to leverage the skills of knowledge workers like creative thinking and problem-solving to help us achieve our goal of continuing to be one of the best tax and benefit administrations in the world. Over the planning period, we will continue to develop a qualified and representative workforce of knowledge workers, striking a balance between recruiting new graduates and training existing employees.

Over the planning period, we will:

Information technology

Our reliance on solid information technology is a function of increasing demand for data and information management. We manage our IT infrastructure today by anticipating tomorrow's needs: the demand to store, process, manage, and retrieve data continues to increase in our society. Therefore, the CRA approaches information technology from a point of view of business sustainability.

The risk that information technology infrastructure, applications, and program support will not be agile or sufficiently responsive to meet current and future program requirements is taken very seriously by the CRA. One of our most important sustainability initiatives is the T1 Systems Redesign project, a multi-year initiative to enhance the T1 Individual Income Tax Program automated system. The T1 system is at the foundation of our taxpayer services. Therefore, it is critical to effectively manage the automation of the T1 suite of systems to prevent any problems with the technology, protect the integrity of the tax base, and ensure benefit program delivery.

The T1 Systems Redesign project is not only a CRA priority, but also a priority for all Canadians. As a result, the Government provided funding of $251 million over a seven-year period so the CRA can update the T1 Systems. Now in its third year, the T1 Systems Redesign project is on its way to delivering a fully updated and highly effective T1 tax return processing system which supports the CRA's larger program and corporate visions. T1 systems will be modernized and tax returns will be processed using common, contemporary tools.

Reducing internal Red Tape through Government-wide approaches

In addition to the government-wide initiatives presented in this summary of the corporate business plan, we are supporting the following initiatives to deliver services more effectively and efficiently:

  • The Common Human Resources Business Process ensures consistency in delivering effective and efficient HR services, encourages the sharing of best practices between departments and agencies, and reduces the costs associated with human resources system configurations and maintenance.
  • The new Financial Management Transformation initiative will implement a streamlined, consolidated, and integrated enterprise model for financial management. The CRA will play a leading role in the governance and implementation of this model by using the significant work done by the CRA and Canada Border Services Agency in its consolidated and integrated enterprise management system.
  • GCDOCS is the new enterprise-wide content management solution to facilitate the storing and retrieving of information provided to government and to ensure standardized electronic document and record management across the public service.
  • The Electronic Mail Transformation Initiative will move 43 departments and agencies from separate email services to a consolidated, secure, reliable, and cost-effective email platform for the Government of Canada. Additional benefits include reduced costs, increased security, and enhanced program delivery to Canadian citizens and businesses.

Integrity and security

Security is a critical aspect of our business, and integrity is at the core of what we do - from fostering a culture of integrity to preventing, monitoring, detecting, and managing any potential integrity lapses. The CRA supports these obligations through the implementation of a strategic and integrated Agency Security Plan which describes how security is essential to the success of the CRA's core business and demonstrates the linkage between the business objectives and the management of security risks to achieve those objectives. It also details the controls currently in place, and initiatives to enhance those controls to further strengthen the CRA's security posture. More importantly, the plan includes a risk-based gap analysis to support the sound management of security risks and the implementation of key security priorities. The CRA maintains one of the government's largest repositories of personal and financial information about Canadians. As such, the protection of information has been identified as an enterprise risk. The CRA remains committed to making sure that information is not inappropriately accessed, handled, used, or disclosed by the CRA. Canadians expect us to protect their personal and financial information, and we are taking the necessary steps to maintain this trust.

Over the planning period, we will:

Integrity and security

Integrity and security are at the forefront of how CRA operates. In particular, the CRA has identified employee ethical conduct as a key enterprise risk, and our Code of Ethics and Conduct makes it clear that misconduct is not tolerated. We take all allegations of employee misconduct seriously, and we are committed to making employees accountable for their actions. If misconduct occurs, we use a corrective and progressive approach which can lead to termination of employment. Over the planning period, the CRA will strengthen:

  • the guidance, training, and tools we provide to our employees — We want employees to know how integrity applies within the context of their specific duties. To address this need, we are strengthening our learning products and embedding a decision-making guide in our management and executive learning programs to ensure a common understanding of how integrity-based decisions are made at the CRA. Finally, we are developing a managers integrity handbook to help managers foster integrity as they carry out their role.
  • our personnel security screening measures — We verify the trustworthiness and reliability of our employees to protect the CRA's interest. We are introducing a new level of security screening which requires more verifications for individuals holding or applying for positions identified as requiring a high degree of public trust.

Public affairs

Changing the behaviours of Canadians to encourage the take-up of online services is one of the CRA's key strategic priorities. To achieve this goal, we will execute our communications strategy for online services, which provides a roadmap for encouraging Canadians to interact with us online.

The CRA will also focus on making information available and easier to find on the new Government of Canada website ( This will give taxpayers the information they need to comply with their tax obligations in the easiest, fastest way possible.

In 2013, the CRA established a Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) position to provide additional oversight to the protection of personal information and maintain the trust needed to sustain a voluntary income tax system.

Over the planning period, we will continue to:

Sustainable development

The CRA is a participant in the 2013–2016 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and contributes to the Theme IV – Greening Government Operations targets through the internal services program. The CRA plans to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its fleet by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020
  • take further action to embed environmental considerations into Crown procurement
  • update and adopt policies and practices to improve the sustainability of its workplace operations
  • continue to reduce the environmental impact of its services

Additional details on CRA's activities can be found in the Greening Government Operations Supplementary Information Table.

Finance and administration

We ensure an environment of sound comptrollership by providing advice, products, and services in diversified key functions: financial administration, resource management, security, internal affairs, administration, real property, and sustainable development.

Our internal controls and processes enable us to provide key financial management and administration information on a timely basis. These in turn allow for the prudent management of CRA resources, facilitating risk management as well as the adjustment of short- and long-term financial strategies.

Our effective internal control system supports the Commissioner's and Chief Financial Officer's annual signed Statement of Management Responsibility for financial reporting.

The CRA has developed a three-year rotational and risk-based monitoring plan to assess the effectiveness of key controls which support financial reporting of our activities. We will also document and assess our key controls over financial reporting for our administered activities over the next few years, including those that fall under the Tax Collection Agreements with the provinces and territories and are audited by the Office of the Auditor General.

By the end of fiscal 2014–15, the CRA will have transformed the way its paper records are handled and stored. In addition to streamlining costs, the new state-of-the-art, service provider-managed facilities will help us continue to safe-guard the security and privacy of taxpayer information.

The CRA supports government-wide initiatives aimed at deficit reduction and remains on track to achieve future savings commitments related to Budget 2012 and 2013 restraint measures. The operating budget freeze announced in the October 2013 Speech from the Throne will compel continued diligence in the management and use of our financial resources.

A priority for the CRA during the planning period is Workplace 2.0, a government-wide strategy introduced and championed by Public Works and Government Services Canada to support the Clerk of the Privy Council's commitment to workplace renewal.

In July 2013, CRA management approved new Workplace 2.0 fit-up standards, including workspace allocations specific to the CRA. These standards help us identify the maximum allowance for personal workspace (offices and workstations) to accommodate our operational requirements. Our participation in this exercise is crucial as we want our real property accommodation investments to offer the best value for money, reflect industry best practices, and provide our employees with the optimum workspace for their operations.

Over the planning period, we will:

Leading change in government

In 2013, the Clerk of the Privy Council launched Blueprint 2020, a government-wide engagement exercise designed to shape the public service of tomorrow.

The CRA's engagement process was launched through our first ever Agency-wide Webinar. Over 6,000 CRA employees took part in our Webinar, and several keynote speakers participated in the event, including the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue. During the Webinar, employees engaged in a Twitter conversation that generated over 900 tweets.

CRA employees participated in record numbers in the engagement activities. More than 21,000 employees participated in face-to-face events about Blueprint 2020. Employees showed unparalleled enthusiasm for our own CRA social media tool: Destination 2020. Destination 2020 was accessed more than 430,000 times, a little over 3,000 ideas were posted, and 35,000 votes were cast, making Destination 2020 an instant hit.

Blueprint 2020 gave us more insight into what we need to do to maintain our status as a world-class tax administrator. The CRA has committed to creating an action plan for the nine key priorities identified through Blueprint 2020, and the actions we take will be reflected in our corporate commitments going forward to help shape the future of the Public Service of Canada.


The CRA will continue to take a strategic approach to human resources planning. Our key focus will be on developing a capable and confident workforce that can ensure compliance with Canada's tax laws and generate the innovative solutions necessary to meet the evolving service demands of Canadians. To make sure we continue to meet future challenges, we will continue to invest in infrastructure and technology platforms to support our core operations. These investments will be balanced and grounded in sound financial management practices and will continue to create efficiencies, ensure business sustainability, and support future innovations in the delivery of our programs and services.

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