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Briefing for the Minister of National Revenue

Upcoming workplace and workforce changes

Issue

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees demonstrated their ability to effectively deliver tax and benefit programs, with more than 90% of employees working remotely. Seizing the opportunity, the CRA is moving to a hybrid model of working that will balance its operational needs with accommodating employee preferences. This hybrid model will allow some employees to continue to work remotely full-time, others to work from CRA worksites full-time, or a combination of both remote and on-site work, depending on business requirements.

Things to consider

  • According to March 2021 CRA employee survey results, more than 80% of employees would like to continue to work from home for at least part of their workweek.
  • The survey also indicated that employees, especially executives and managers, were experiencing stress levels higher than they were pre-pandemic, with excessive workload cited as the leading cause.
  • These results were taken into account within the multi-phased transition plan [A link to a secure server was removed] that provides an approach to gradually increase employee presence at CRA worksites once public health restrictions permit. This plan is the first step towards implementing the future vision and our workplace strategies.
  • Due to the complexity of the environment, the development of plans and strategies will be iterative and consider employee and management feedback, in order to remain flexible, responsive and adaptable.
  • On August 13, 2021 the Government of Canada announced its intent to require vaccination across the federal public service.

Next steps

  • The CRA will continue to follow guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada's Public Service Occupational Health Program, and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer to determine when, and to what extent, we can safely increase employee presence at CRA worksites and in-person interactions with taxpayers.
  • Concurrently, the CRA is developing a longer-term Workplace of the Future strategy to ensure the Agency is well positioned to support employees, deliver world-class service to Canadians, and capitalize on the benefits of a new hybrid work environment.
  • The CRA is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of its employees. We are concerned about the well-being of employees and encourage them to access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other well-being tools and supports.

Key messages

  • The health and safety of all of our employees is a top priority for the CRA, regardless of whether an employee works from home or at a CRA worksite
  • The CRA continues to follow the advice and guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Using a largely remote work model, the CRA has been able to successfully deliver services and a number of COVID-19 support measures to Canadians
  • The CRA continues to engage with employees, union partners, and other stakeholders in the development of the CRA's future workplace
  • The hybrid model of working will contribute to reducing our carbon footprint through decreased employee commuting and reduced green house gas emissions with a smaller office footprint over the longer term
  • The CRA will look to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat for guidance with regards to vaccinations for employees as well as accommodation or alternative measures for those few who are unable to be vaccinated
  • Currently, CRA employees are required to follow COVID-19 protocols when present at a CRA worksite regardless of their vaccination status

Background

  • The majority of CRA staff have been working remotely since March 2020
  • The CRA's approved vision, plan and strategies for workplace and workforce changes are aligned with the Government of Canada's central agencies and other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development member tax administrations
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