A Message from the Commissioner

Bob Hamilton, Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency
"I want to see the Agency break down the silos that exist within some parts of our organization and foster increased …. cooperation between branches and programs."
Bob Hamilton

The Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Departmental Plan 2018-19 sets out the Agency's expectations and priorities for the next planning period. I believe it demonstrates that our organization is implementing initiatives to seize opportunities and meet current and anticipated future challenges.

Given the significant impact that the CRA has on the lives of Canadians – from the hundreds of billions in tax revenue we collect every year to the billions in credit and benefit payments we administer annually – we need to achieve excellence in everything we do. We are doing a good job in many aspects of our operations, but we also know that we must improve as we strive to be a world-class tax and benefit administration. The Fall 2017 Report of the Auditor General on our call centre operations highlights one area where we are not meeting the needs and service expectations of Canadians. Going forward, we must show that we are willing and able to do what is necessary to improve our service and demonstrate that we have the capacity to adapt and innovate in a world of rapid technological and demographic change.

The Agency's Digital Services Modernization Strategy will provide Canadians with a world-class service experience that is focused on the user, is secure, and digital from end-to-end. Innovation will be key to ensuring that we continue to provide taxpayers and benefit recipients with the best possible service. Canadians are increasingly spending more time on smartphones and tablets and less time on personal computers. The CRA is responding to this trend and is already developing innovative solutions to ensure that our digital services and content remain accessible to all devices without compromising the security of the information entrusted to us.

We are nevertheless also aware of the need to provide services that are accessible to our most vulnerable citizens; not every Canadian has access to digital devices. We want to ensure that no Canadian is left behind and that different channels of communication are available to everyone. Our Community Volunteer Income Tax Program and our Liaison Officer Initiative are two of the ways in which we are successfully reaching out to Canadians who need our support.

The small proportion of taxpayers who fail, intentionally or not, to comply with tax laws remains a challenge for the CRA, as it does for tax administrations around the world.

Increasingly the Agency is relying on the use of business intelligence (BI) and data analytics to help us identify taxpayers at highest risk of being non-compliant. The Agency intends to further develop its capacity in these areas. Making greater use of BI and developing our application of advanced analytics will serve to inform new ideas and approaches to compliance, predict future trends, and help us to better tailor and time our compliance interventions for the best results. Our continued leading role in the Forum on Tax Administration is also helping us in our compliance efforts as we work with tax administrations around the world to address issues related to base erosion and profit shifting and aggressive tax planning by multinational corporations. Our initiatives to improve compliance are an important way that we can provide trust and confidence in the tax system to Canadians.

The focus of our planning is on serving taxpayers and benefit recipients and adopting a client-based focus. On the path to being world-class, however, we must also look inward and work towards making changes in our workplace culture. I want to see the Agency break down the silos that exist within some parts of our organization and foster increased sharing and cooperation between branches and programs. One initiative within the Agency that is already helping to do this is our sharing of BI across program areas as we attempt to understand non-compliant taxpayer behaviour and better target our compliance and collections activities.

I feel fortunate to lead such a dynamic organization, one that was recently recognized as being one of Canada's Top 100 employers. This Plan shows how the CRA and its workforce are taking concrete action to improve our service, deliver on government-wide and Agency priorities and how, in the process, we are striving to be a world-class tax and benefit administration. As the environment in which we operate continues to evolve, we will continue to pursue excellence, doing what we need to do to provide the best possible service to taxpayers and benefit recipients, and protect and maintain Canada's revenue base.

Original signed

Bob Hamilton
Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency

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