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Organizational structure and governance

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Agency governance overview

The Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) governance structure is more complex than most departments given its status as an Agency with unique authorities. It includes a minister, a commissioner and chief executive officer (i.e., deputy minister), and a deputy commissioner (i.e., associate deputy minister), similar to other government departments. In addition, the CRA also has a Board of Management (Board) and a Taxpayers' Ombudsperson.

Minister of National Revenue

  • Accountable to Parliament and the Prime Minister for the operations of the CRA, matters relating to the collection of taxes and duties (set out in the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act, and the Excise Act) and elements of the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Pension Plan
  • Powers related to regulation-making and reporting to Parliament and the Governor in Council
  • Does not direct officials on interpreting tax law
  • Member of Cabinet and Privy Councilor

Board of Management

  • Accountable to the Minister of National Revenue
  • Consists of 15 Directors:
    • A Chair and two directors who are nominated by the federal government and appointed by the Governor in Council
    • Eleven directors in total, 10 of whom are nominated by each province, and one who is nominated by the territories (on a rotating basis), and appointed by the Governor in Council
    • The commissioner (ex-officio member)
  • Oversees the organization, administration, and management of the CRA
  • Provides oversight to the CRA's internal audit and program evaluation planning and reporting
  • Responsible for the development of the CRA's Corporate Business Plan
  • Not involved in CRA operational activities
  • Has no authority in the administration or enforcement of legislation, for which the CRA remains fully accountable to the minister

Board of Management oversight

Taxpayers' Ombudsperson

  • Accountable directly to the minister and operates at arm's length from the CRA
  • Mandated to improve service to taxpayers via service complaint mechanisms, systemic reporting, and outreach
  • Upholds the 8 service-related rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Taxpayers' Ombudsperson oversight

Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer

  • Accountable to the minister, the Board, and the Clerk of the Privy Council
  • Responsible for the authorities assigned to him or her by a person (e.g., the minister or the Prime Minister), a body (e.g., the Treasury Board), or by law, regulation, or policy (e.g., the Financial Administration Act)
  • Responsible for the day-to-day management and direction of the CRA
  • Ex-officio member of the Board
  • Advises the minister on legislated authorities, duties, and functions

Deputy Commissioner

  • Supports the commissioner in all duties
  • Responsible for exercising specific duties/functions assigned by the commissioner
  • Acts for the commissioner in case of absence, incapacity, or vacancy
  • Not a member of the Board but normally attends Board meetings

Organizational structure

The CRA comprises 13 headquarters branches and 4 regions.

  • 5 headquarters branches centrally organize and provide technical and policy support for the delivery of CRA programs
  • 8 headquarters branches provide corporate services for the CRA
  • 4 regions are responsible for program delivery via field offices in their respective areas of operation
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