Section 2 – Planned results

Benefits

Core responsibility

Description: To ensure 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 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. Indeed, many Canadians depend on benefit payments for a significant part of their household income and the importance of these payments cannot be underestimated. We need to be vigilant and have an effective administration in place to ensure that benefits are paid in a timely manner, especially where recipients still rely on paper-based transactions.

More than $31 billion in credit and benefit payments are issued by the CRA each year to more than 12 million Canadians. Benefits include the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and the Canada child benefit, 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. We strive to make the right benefit payment to the right individual at the right time, and recently began working with colleagues at Employment and Social Development Canada to improve our ability to do so. Overall, the CRA is taking significant steps to ensure that all Canadians, including Canadians with modest incomes, Indigenous peoples, and newcomers, are getting the benefits they are entitled to in a timely manner. We are also taking action to ensure that we are giving benefit recipients accessible information and timely responses to their enquiries.

Photo of a senior women with a younger women standing behind her, the younger woman wrapping her arms  around the shoulders of the senior woman.

Outreach

Outreach is an important component of the CRA's client-focused approach to service and is one of many elements that comprise the Agency's drive to be a world-class tax and benefit administration. The Agency continues to reach out to Canadians to ensure that everyone is receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.

Over the planning period we intend to further develop and enhance our outreach efforts, especially within Indigenous communities and other segments of the Canadian population who may not be aware of what benefits and services are available to them.

Symbol for Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

The CRA administers federal and provincial/territorial benefits that are designed to contribute to greater economic equity for individuals and families who are the most vulnerable to poverty. The administration of the Canada child benefit, for example, provides help with the cost of raising children of low and  middle-income families.

One of our most successful outreach efforts has been the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). Through the program, volunteers across Canada help to prepare income tax and benefit returns for Canadians who may not have the means or knowledge to prepare their own returns. The CVITP works with Indigenous peoples, seniors, persons with disabilities, and individuals with low or fixed incomes. In collaboration with partner organizations, the CRA provides the necessary training and support to the many volunteers who host the free tax preparation clinics. Beginning in 2018, our CVITP volunteers will be able to make use of the CRA's Auto-fill my return service. Access to this service will significantly help volunteers in the important work that they do. By being able to automatically fill in parts of a taxpayer's income tax and benefit return with information that the CRA has available at the time of filing, volunteers will be able to complete returns more quickly than before, the CRA will be able to process them faster, and there will be greater certainty that CVITP clients will receive the benefits to which they are entitled with little or no delay.

Digital services

The CRA's digital services are at the forefront of providing the best possible service to benefit recipients and their use has been a significant factor in ensuring that benefits are delivered to Canadians efficiently, securely, and on time.

The Agency plans to further improve "MyBenefits CRA", the web-based mobile app designed specifically for benefit recipients. It has proven to be invaluable in giving benefit recipients a fast, easy, and secure way to verify the amount and date of upcoming benefit payments. Recent enhancements have allowed users to view the breakdown in their payment between federal and provincial/territorial benefits. In addition, benefit recipients can now also view and update their marital status and view information the CRA has about children in their care.

Looking ahead, the Agency's approach to developing mobile apps will ensure that any changes to a mobile service such as MyBenefits CRA will be made according to set principles and using a consistent approach. To this end the Agency will ensure that there is a strong focus on implementing features that incorporate designs and services that improve the application's ease of use for benefit recipients.

Young female telephone operator with a headset taking calls with a blurred image of a large group of people standing behind her.

Telephone services

Even in the era of the Internet and web-based services, the telephone often remains a vital form of communication for many Canadians. This is especially true for individuals who need to know if they are eligible for benefits, or when their payments will be issued.

The CRA answers over 6 million calls each year on its benefits enquiries line and we are committed to providing the best possible client-focused service we can

The Agency continues to strive to improve its call centre technology and to provide more accessible telephone service. In partnership with Shared Services Canada and other government organizations, we are actively evaluating and developing new call centre technology for our individual enquiries call centres. The technology will offer modern contact centre features such as centralized queuing, wait time information, skills based routing, and workforce management. These features will contribute to the efficiency of the CRA's call centre operations – reducing busy signals and improving service overall for those Canadians who rely on our benefit enquiries line for information.

The Agency intends to closely monitor call volumes to determine the impact of our call centre initiatives. We will also be monitoring the issues and questions being raised by callers to better understand their information needs and the most common reasons for calls.

All the call centre measures that we plan to implement over the next planning period should significantly improve the client-focused service that we strive to provide to benefit recipients. They will also significantly contribute to the Agency's strategic priority of service and to the Government's over-arching goal of social inclusion.

Man and a woman and the woman is holding a child.

Benefit administration

The Canada child benefit is one of the more significant benefits administered by the CRA. By July 2018, the Agency plans to simplify the application process, both digitally and on paper. Changes to the Canada child benefit application form will be made, and information on the CRA's website and in Agency publications will provide clear details on what applicants need to provide, and when, so that their eligibility for benefits can be determined accurately and quickly.

As noted earlier, the CRA and Employment and Social Development Canada initiative called "Tell-Us-Once" will allow Canadians to inform either department about their direct deposit or address information and be assured that the information is updated simultaneously with the other department. This will greatly facilitate the provision of benefits to eligible Canadians. By February 2019, the CRA and Employment and Social Development Canada intend to have organizational structures and processes in place that will allow both organizations to share information in relation to Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments. By February 2020, we anticipate a similar arrangement for sharing information with respect to employment insurance payments.

Experimentation symbol

Experimentation is helping the CRA ensure that Canadians receive the benefits to which they are entitled. In 2017, the CRA examined the issue of low take-up of the working income tax benefit among paper filers and experimented with an approach to address the issue. An informational insert on the working income tax benefit, designed to be included with the individual income tax forms book, was produced. The effectiveness of this insert as a tool to make Canadians aware of the benefit, and how to claim it, was then tested on a segment of the Canadian population. One group was provided with the insert while the other (the control group) was not. Comparing the behaviour of the two groups demonstrated that the use of the insert would be effective in increasing the number of claims for the working income tax benefit. Once the use of the insert is adopted nation-wide in 2018, it is anticipated that there will be almost 19,000 new benefit claimants and an additional $12.5 million benefit payments.

Planning highlights

Expected results

Benefits planned results

The CRA's Departmental Results Framework demonstrates how CRA's work contributes both to government priorities and overall well-being of Canadians. The framework identifies the indicators that are used to assess overall progress towards the outcomes we are striving to achieve and provides a foundation for accuracy and transparency in reporting our results to Parliamentarians and Canadians.

The Treasury Board of Canada guidelines requires departments and agencies to include all departmental results, departmental result indicators and targets.

Canadians receive their rightful benefits in a timely manner
Indicator Target  Actual result
2014-2015 
Actual result
2015-2016
Actual result
2016-2017
Percentage of Canada child benefit (CCB) recipients who provide complete and accurate information in order to receive the proper entitlement 95%  N/AFootnote 1 N/AFootnote 1 95% 
Percentage of benefit payments issued to benefit recipients on time 99%  99.9% 99.9% 99.9%
Percentage of respondents satisfied with benefit application processing time 75%  N/AFootnote 2,Footnote3 N/AFootnote 2,Footnote3 N/AFootnote 2,Footnote3
Percentage of taxpayers (benefit recipients) who filed as a result of targeted CRA intervention 10%  N/AFootnote 2,Footnote3 N/AFootnote 2,Footnote3 N/AFootnote 2,Footnote3

Benefits budgetary financial (dollars) and human resources (full-time equivalents)

BENEFITS  2018-19 Main Estimates 2018-19 PlannedFootnote 4 2019-20 PlannedFootnote 4 2020-21 PlannedFootnote 4
$ 482,609,132
482,609,132 474,246,261 477,744,586
FTE    1,506 1,474 1,463

Financial, human resources and performance information for the CRA's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: