Section 2 – Planned results

Internal services

Description: Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: management and oversight services, communications services, legal services, human resources management services, financial management services, information management services, information technology services, real property services, materiel services, and acquisition services.

The CRA has a rigorous system of financial controls over planning and budgeting to support the efficient administration of the Government of Canada's tax and benefits system. Through an ongoing commitment to clear and well-defined accountabilities, and an efficient financial services delivery model, the CRA ensures the disbursement of its resources is done prudently and effectively, and is aligned with the strategic direction and priorities of the Agency and the Government.

The CRA's strategic priorities of service, compliance, innovation, people, and integrity and security, affect everything we do. While service and compliance are mainly outward-facing as we administer tax and benefits, internal activities and resources provide the support and oversight necessary to fulfill our organizational obligations. Encouraging innovation, fostering integrity and security, and ensuring that effective workforce management is in place, will allow the Agency to deliver results and help it achieve the goal of being a world-class tax and benefit administration.

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Innovation

Economic, social, and technological changes have transformed society in ways that would have seemed unimaginable even 20 years ago. To ensure that the CRA is able to adapt to these changes and meet the service expectations of Canadians and protect Canada's revenue base, the Agency is committed to encouraging and maintaining a culture of innovation in the workplace.

Innovation is key to ensuring the Agency achieves its goal of being a world-class tax and benefit administration

Agency employees are supported in their efforts to offer new ideas, to envision new approaches to tackling issues, and to take risks and experiment. "Innovation is change that unlocks new value"Footnote 1. To this end, the CRA will continue to foster intelligent risk-taking as part of its workplace environment. The Agency will ensure that, as an organization, it has the people and processes that can clearly identify problems and issues to be resolved, as well as the outcomes desired, and that there are methodologies in place to rigorously evaluate and report on the results of the ideas and plans that have been adopted.

Since 2015, a culture of innovation, experimentation, and intelligent risk taking has been fostered within the CRA through the development of projects that focus on finding innovative solutions that can help the Agency better fulfil its core responsibilities. Important contributions in support of Agency priorities have been made, especially in relation to advanced analytics, nudge messaging, and ethnographic research. In fostering a culture of innovation, the CRA has also established collaborative relationships with other federal and provincial government departments, international counterparts, and academia, to gain new perspectives on issues touching on innovation. Over the next three years, as the Agency continues to develop new ideas and techniques to improve service to Canadians and promote taxpayer compliance, these are the main areas of focus:

A significant area of innovation within the Agency has been the use of business intelligence. Increasingly the CRA undertakes complex research, trend analysis, and compliance risk analysis. In this regard, the Agency is committed to enhancing and increasing its business intelligence environment to meet its ever-evolving data analysis needs, especially in the areas of audit, collection, and benefits. By 2020, the CRA anticipates that it will have renewed and optimized its business intelligence computing platform, tools, and processes to meet the key needs of Agency researchers and analysts, which in turn will better inform decision-making at the Agency.

Information technology, of course, drives many of the CRA's initiatives on innovation and the CRA is committed to adapting to new technologies. The Agency has established an Information Technology Innovation Centre to identify and make use of emerging technologies that may have an impact on how the CRA fulfils its mandate. In partnerships with other federal government departments and other tax administrations, and in consultations with information technology research and advisory firms, the CRA is exploring the use of new technologies such as cloud computing, blockchain, and robotics process automation. Leveraging these new technologies may play a significant role in helping reshape the Agency's operations, providing the means to enhance compliance activities and overall allowing the Agency to achieve its goal of delivering the best possible service to Canadians.

The Agency is especially exploring the many practical possibilities associated with artificial intelligence. In the last few years, industry has made many advances with Artificial intelligence, enabling the development of computer software programs that have capabilities similar to people acting intelligently. Without being explicitly programmed, these artificial intelligence software applications can generally be trained, using various data sources, to perform human-like functions such as the ability to learn, reason, analyze, take decisions, and recognize speech and visual patterns. The Agency has recently developed an outlook for artificial intelligence that focuses on a subset of artificial intelligence technologies because of their potential business intelligence capabilities for solving CRA business issues. These subsets include Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Image Recognition, and Digital Assistants. As well, we are evaluating applications of machine learning in business intelligence and artificial intelligence technologies as a means of supporting CRA services. The applications could lead to systems that offer the possibility of providing online clients with answers to basic tax and CRA questions immediately. Artificial intelligence tools could also improve the Agency's detection of large-scale tax schemes involving numerous parties since such complex schemes are not easily uncovered.

Planning highlights

Expected results

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Integrity and security

Maintaining the trust of Canadians that their confidential information will be protected and handled in a highly secure and responsible manner will always be a top priority for the CRA and informs all aspects of the Agency's activities, planning, and decision-making. The Agency is committed to protecting the privacy of taxpayer and benefit recipient information. With one of the largest and most sophisticated information technology environments in the Government of Canada, our computer systems have the capacity to ensure that stringent cyber-security mechanisms are in place to protect personal information. The continual monitoring of electronic transactions, and the use of identity and access management tools, help to prevent, detect, and mitigate unauthorized access to CRA systems. Additionally, each year employees must affirm that they have reviewed the Agency's Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct. The Code underscores the fact that employees have an essential, critical duty to fulfill in protecting the privacy and confidentiality of personal information that Canadians entrust to the Agency.

As the nature and scope of complex cyber threats evolve, the Agency's strategy for information technology security continues to progress

As the nature and scope of complex cyber threats evolve, the Agency's strategy for information technology security continues to progress in order to protect CRA data, information assets, and information technology infrastructure. In particular, the CRA's Data Security Initiative will help to further strengthen the Agency's information technology security controls, especially those over privileged-user access to taxpayer and benefit recipient information. It will also help to control and monitor information leaving the CRA, increase and enhance the protection of CRA data and databases from malicious software, and provide a secure foundation for adopting new technologies and expanding electronic services. The Initiative has 15 components with various implementation dates and all of them are expected to be completed by June 2020.

Monitoring who accesses taxpayer and benefit recipient information remains a cornerstone of the CRA's integrity and security agenda. Through the use of an enterprise fraud management solution, the Agency will conduct more proactive examinations of access to CRA systems by further enhancing the tracking, identification, and quick verification of questionable transactions to ensure that the personal information of Canadians is accessed by employees only when and as necessary.

Planning highlights

Expected results

Information technology

Information technology is critical to all aspects of the Agency's operations. It provides the necessary support for innovative Agency initiatives and it will continue to provide the Agency with the capacity it needs to sustain both current and emerging business needs. The support that information technology provides in designing and advancing our digital services is making it easier for Canadians to comply with their tax obligations and receive their benefit payments on time.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) is a key partner on our information technology-enabled project commitments. The Agency will continue to foster a strong partnership with SSC to support our evolving business needs.

Through our information technology services, the Agency plans to optimize the use of business intelligence to meet its evolving data analysis needs. Over the planning period, information technology improvements to infrastructure, tools, and processes, will help the CRA establish a self-service business intelligence environment that will be able to meet the key needs of researchers and analysts. This, in turn, will help support business decisions and actions.

The availability and reliability of the Agency's information technology systems are critically dependent on the information technology infrastructure services provided by Shared Services Canada (SSC). The CRA will continue to foster a strong partnership with SSC and will align with the Government's Information Technology Strategic Plan. The most significant initiative the Agency is undertaking with SSC relates to new call centre technology. The new technology will provide the capabilities that will allow external and internal clients the ability to contact a government service agent or automated self-service system through multiple channels. In partnering with SSC on this initiative, the new functionalities associated with new call centre technology means that the Agency will be able to do more targeted innovation and automation to align with the CRA's own Service Modernization agenda.

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Expected results

People

Over the next three years, the Agency will expand its recruitment strategy, continue implementing its Respectful Workplace and Well-being Strategy, and promote greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Recruitment efforts will target existing and emerging workforce gaps, including specialized professions – such as auditors and data analysts – that the Agency will need in the years ahead. Our recruitment strategy is also designed to address the demographic challenges that organizations world-wide face with aging workforces and pending retirements. The plans and processes we have in place will ensure that we are able to develop our workforce and hire capable and motivated individuals with the skills required in information technology, project management, and business intelligence that can help the Agency deal with new and emerging issues in a technological environment (e.g., blockchain). Expertise in data analytics will be especially critical to our success and a top priority will be to train, attract, and retain individuals in this field. Overall, in addressing workforce gaps, the CRA will continue to modernize its recruitment products and promote consistent branding, enhance and increase its post-secondary institution outreach and engagement activities, and support targeted recruitment initiatives as required.

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The CRA is committed to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity, and that Indigenous Peoples and minority groups are better represented in positions of leadership.

As part of our recruitment strategy, we will also continue to enhance the Agency's online presence, expand our use of social media, and have a social media recruitment plan in place for 2019-2020. Prior to that, elements of our social media strategy will have been implemented throughout 2018 and will include developing enhanced content on the Agency's social media platforms to position the CRA as an employer of choice. For example, we will showcase our workplace culture and highlight the fact that the CRA was recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2018.

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There are areas of under-representation in certain occupational groups and the CRA is working to address these through various efforts, including targeted recruitment campaigns, development and retention strategies, and education and sensitivity awareness training.

We will implement the Agency's Respectful Workplace and Well-being Strategy by 2019. Activities currently planned in support of the Strategy include the renewal of the CRA's Well-being website to provide employees with better information and advice on the range of support services available to them, and developing well-being products for employees both joining and leaving the CRA. The results of two surveys sent to senior management, in the context of the Strategy, will help us determine what tools are needed to better promote and foster respect, health, and employee well-being within the Agency.

In order to promote diversity and inclusion at the CRA, and in support of the Government's goal of fostering a new and better relationship with Canada's Indigenous peoples, the Agency will be implementing a Strategy for the Recruitment, Inclusion and Retention of Indigenous Peoples. The Strategy will seek to increase recruitment of Indigenous peoples, provide them with opportunities for higher-level and leadership positions, address current and anticipated under-representation, and improve the Agency's engagement with Indigenous communities overall. It will involve collaboration with other government organizations such as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat, Health Canada, and the Aboriginal Centre of Expertise within the Public Service Commission.

Ensuring that employees are paid accurately and in a timely manner will remain a priority. The Agency will continue to focus on the stabilization of the Phoenix pay system and the resolution of outstanding inventory. The Agency will continue to work with Public Services and Procurement Canada, its bargaining agents and other stakeholders in resolving systemic issues related to Phoenix. Regular and frequent communications will continue to be issued to all employees to provide timely updates. The Agency will be promoting training for its employees in order to increase the understanding of the pay system and how, within CRA, we can minimize the impact on everyone.

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Expected results

Access to Information and Privacy

The Agency intends to enhance its current privacy management framework to better support the CRA's Chief Privacy Officer in overseeing sound privacy management in the CRA.

A recent initiative of the Government has been a comprehensive review of both the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, which reflects the Government's commitment to enhanced openness and transparency. The Treasury Board Secretariat has been leading the review of the Access to Information Act and Justice Canada has reviewed the Privacy Act. Consultations with stakeholders have included the CRA.

Legislation to amend both Acts was introduced in June 2017. Once the legislation is passed and changes to both Acts take effect, the CRA will ensure the administration of the changes is carried out effectively and efficiently so that Canadians can be assured of enhanced access to information and improved protection of their personal information.

Planning highlights

Expected results

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

INTERNAL SERVICES  2018-19 Main Estimates 2018-19 PlannedFootnote 2 2019-20 PlannedFootnote 2 2020-21 PlannedFootnote 2
925,713,343
925,713,343 921,814,270 911,882,453
FTE   7,707 7,606 7,369
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