Terms of Reference
Disability Advisory Committee
1. Mission statement
- To advise the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on interpreting and administering tax measures for Canadians living with disabilities in a fair, transparent and accessible way.
2. Mandate of the Committee
- To provide advice to the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA on the administration and interpretation of laws and programs for disability-related tax measures administered by the CRA.
- To provide advice on how the needs and expectations of the disability community can be considered by the CRA as they interpret and administer disability-related tax measures. This may involve recommendations for information gathering and collaboration between the CRA and the disability community.
- To provide advice on how the CRA can increase:
- Overall awareness of tax measures for persons with disabilities; and
- Take-up of tax measures for persons with disabilities.
- To provide advice on how the CRA can best:
- engage persons with disabilities and their support communities; and
- deliver information, education and outreach initiatives about disability-related tax measures and important administrative changes to:
- Persons with disabilities;
- Those who support persons with disabilities;
- Professionals who advise persons with disabilities;
- Health practitioners; and
- Not-for-profit agencies and various levels of government.
- To review and make recommendations for improvement to the CRA's administrative practices in order to enhance the quality of the services and products the CRA provides to persons with disabilities.
- To provide the CRA with a formalized means of consulting with various stakeholders.
- While legislative change is beyond the mandate of the Disability Advisory Committee and the role of the CRA, recommendations for legislative change to disability tax measures may be made by the Committee for consideration and will be forwarded to the Department of Finance Canada.
Membership on the Committee will be determined on the following basis:
- The Committee consists of a blend of service providers (e.g. health, tax professionals, lawyers, accountants), advocates of the disability community and persons with disabilities;
- The Committee will be composed of 12 members and 2 co-chairs, appointed for a term not to exceed forty-eight (48) months (starting with the first meeting of their appointment);
- One of the Committee members will act as vice-chair, to support the private sector co-chair and provide activities at the discretion of co-chairs such as;
- help setting the agenda for the in-person meetings
- participate in discussions with co-chairs as to the progress of the Committee and the work that needs to be undertaken.
- The Minister and the Commissioner appoint the members and determine the length of their terms;
- In order to have some continuity of membership, during the first four years of the Committee, the members will be given different terms:
- Four (4) members will be appointed for forty-eight (48) months;
- Four (4) members will be appointed for thirty-six (36) months; and
- Four (4) members will be appointed for twenty-four (24) months.
- Should a member not be able to serve his or her full term of appointment, the Minister jointly with the Commissioner will then appoint a suitable individual to complete the remaining portion of the term of appointment created by that vacancy;
- Membership is voluntary and members will not be paid to attend meetings. However, reasonable travel and accommodation expenses to attend meetings will be reimbursed according to the CRA Travel Policy, and meetings will be held in accordance with section 9 (below);
- Other federal departmental representatives (e.g Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Finance, Employment and Social Development) may be welcomed in the role of observers or resource people.
4. Role of Committee members
- The roles and responsibilities of Committee members include:
- Awareness of the needs and experiences of persons with disabilities to inform the Committee's deliberations and recommendations to the CRA on its disability-related tax measures;
- Identifying topics for consideration or presentation to the CRA;
- Offering advice, comments and recommendations on CRA services, products, and administrative policies and other issues and initiatives that are presented to the Committee;
- Undertaking activities to inform its advice and recommendations to the CRA such as mechanisms for stakeholder engagement and collaboration (e.g. surveys, focus groups);
- Committee members have been selected to represent the views of their respective communities and associations. The members agree not to use the Committee as a means to advance their own personal interests or further the sole interests of the associations they represent;
- Committee members agree not to act as advocates to address the tax situations of specific taxpayers or to raise cases with the Committee that are before the courts;
- Committee members are expected to participate in a collaborative and constructive manner that promotes tangible outcomes and upholds public confidence in the Committee’s mandate, advice, and recommendations. Members are asked to address any individual concerns through dialogue with the co-chairs and, as appropriate, the Committee as a whole.
- Committee members are not spokespersons for the CRA. Each member is a stakeholder, representing themselves as an expert or as an advocate of persons with disabilities.
- Any information developed in consultation with other groups or shared by Committee members will become part of the formal and public proceedings of the Committee upon consensus of the Committee.
- Members may discuss consultative initiatives of the Committee with their communities and colleagues unless expressly advised that they should not do so for reasons of confidentiality.
5. Establishment of co-chairs
- The Assistant Commissioner, Assessment & Benefit Services Branch (ABSB) of the CRA, will serve as co-chair of the Committee alongside a co-chair from the private sector;
- The private sector co-chair must be a Committee member;
- The term of a private sector co-chair will be twenty-four months (starting with the first meeting of his/her appointment);
- After the initial appointment of a private sector co-chair by the Minister and the Commissioner for twenty-four (24) months, the private sector co-chair can be renewed by the Minister and the Commissioner for a subsequent term of twenty-four months, or a new private sector co-chair can be appointed by the Minister and the Commissioner;
- Members of the DAC can be eligible for appointment as co-chair after serving a term of twenty-four (24) months or more;
- Should the private sector co-chair not be able to serve his or her full term of appointment, an appointment will take place according to 5.b), c) d) and e);
- The outgoing co-chair will have the opportunity to remain a member of the Committee for an additional 12 months to ensure continuity between the co-chairs. This could mean that the Committee will be composed of 13 members on some occasions.
6. Roles of co-chairs
- Ensure that the Committee adheres to its mandate and the members fulfill their roles;
- Develop meeting agendas in concert with the Committee's mandate and roles;
- Facilitate meetings and lead the discussions, including during video or teleconferences;
- Ensure that all members are heard, engaged and respected in the work of the Committee;
- Report on the progress made by the Committee to the Minister and the Commissioner;
- Serve as spokespersons for the Committee.
7. Responsibilities of the co-chair from the CRA
- To be the liaison between CRA and the Committee;
- To provide secretariat services to the Committee which includes, but is not limited to providing the Committee with data necessary to informing their work and any recommendations such as:
- how the CRA currently liaises with disability stakeholder groups,
- how the CRA handles inquiries regarding disability,
- processes the CRA uses to decide on DTC eligibility,
- requirements of persons to maintain their DTC eligibility,
- rates of acceptance and rejection by activity,
- appeal processes and data.
8. Responsibilities of the co-chair from the DAC
- To be the liaison between the 12 members of the DAC and the CRA in its secretariat function;
- To represent the views of the Committee as a whole; and
- To guide the Committee in its advisory function.
- Upon initial formation, the Committee will meet three times per year. The frequency of meetings will be periodically re-examined to ensure best use of Committee members' time;
- The meetings will be held in Ottawa at location(s) that are accessible to those participants who are persons with disabilities. Other methods of meeting may also be utilized in order to keep costs at a reasonable level, such as videoconferences, teleconferences or on-line consultation in lieu of face-to-face meetings, in accordance with section 3.g);
- In order for a meeting to take place, a quorum is necessary and will be met when a minimum of 7 members are in attendance.
10. Topics of discussion
- The co-chairs are responsible for setting meeting agendas in consultation with Committee members. Any member of the Committee can submit relevant topics for discussion to the co-chairs;
- An agenda item presented for discussion or activity that is not aligned with the mandate and role of the Committee and/or that does not meet with the consensus of the Committee will not be pursued;
- In the event of dissent arising about whether an agenda topic or activity is aligned with the mandate and role of the Committee, the co-chairs and/or the Minister and the Commissioner will have the authority to rectify the dissent;
- The Minister or the Commissioner may request the Committee discuss and analyze a specific topic; and
- The Committee can request information as defined in 7.b necessary to informing a topic of discussion.
- A record of meeting proceedings will be kept and submitted to the Minister and Commissioner as well as made publicly available;
- The Committee may report on a specific topic to the Minister and the Commissioner in the format of a letter sent to the Minister and the Commissioner indicating the summary of the findings and the recommendations of the Committee;
- In the event that the Minister or Commissioner requests the Committee to discuss and analyze a specific topic, the Committee will report on this discussion and analysis will be sent to the Minister and the Commissioner in the format of a letter indicating the summary of the findings and any attendant recommendations;
- At the end of each year (following three meetings per year), the Committee will report to the Minister and the Commissioner with a summary of all topics discussed as well as recommendations for all topics;
- Meeting proceedings (a), specific reports (b) and annual reports (c) will be reviewed and approved upon consensus of Committee members.
The CRA will assist the Committee in ensuring that all meeting materials and Committee reports are fully accessible.
- The Committee co-chair is the Assistant Commissioner of the ABSB or as an alternate, the Director General of Benefit Programs Directorate; and
- The Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch will provide secretariat services for the Committee, performing functions such as:
- Maintaining membership lists and coordinates of each member;
- Circulating agendas, minutes and documentation to Committee members;
- Organizing materials and all logistics for Committee meetings;
- Supporting the co-Chairs in their roles and responsibilities communicating with the Commissioner, the Minister and other stakeholders.
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