Minister Lebouthillier announces the opening of three Canada Revenue Agency Northern Service Centres

News release

August 24, 2018            Whitehorse        Canada Revenue Agency

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that all Canadians, regardless of where they live, have access to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) services.

Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the Agency will open three new Northern Service Centres in Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit to better support Indigenous communities and Canadians living in the North. In addition to maintaining a physical presence throughout the year, the Agency will expand the activities of the outreach program, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), and the Liaison Officer service offered to businesses and self-employed individuals. The Agency will also set up dedicated telephone lines to make it easier for territorial residents to contact officers with specialized training to address their needs. Between now and the start of the next tax season, the Agency will dedicate up to 12 full-time employees to the territorial capitals to deliver these services, representing an investment of up to $6 million.

This new approach is based on recommendations from the Serving You Better consultations in the North as well as comments gathered from Indigenous communities, northern residents and businesses that participated in roundtables with the Minister. These discussions highlighted that Canadians who live in the North must sometimes overcome additional obstacles to meet their tax obligations. In particular, the CRA heard that it needs to provide more assistance to northern residents so they can file their tax returns. It was also emphasized that it is difficult for them to comply with the rules governing the lowest return airfare in order to claim the northern residents deductions. Moreover, to make life easier for Canadians who claim this deduction and to reduce the frequency of reviews, Minister Lebouthillier also announced that she will be recommending regulatory amendments. In the coming months, Canadians will be consulted on the proposed regulatory changes.


Quotes

"All Canadians, regardless of where they live, deserve to receive quality services from the CRA. Today, our government is following through on its promise to better serve Indigenous communities and Canadians who live in the North. In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to become more aware of the issues that specifically affect Northern communities. Northern residents face unique challenges when the time comes to file an income tax return to receive benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit and the northern residents deductions. The opening of these three service centres will bring the CRA closer to people year-round."

- The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

"Our government is committed to improving the lives of all Canadians, including ensuring access to important services for northerners. As Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, I will continue to work with northerners to find innovative solutions that address ongoing challenges and explore emerging opportunities in the Canadian and circumpolar Arctic."

- The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P. Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

“We are thrilled that our ongoing working relationship with this federal government has resulted in improved services for Yukoners. Our government believes in a people-centred approach and that means providing supports for Yukoners closer to home. We know that navigating federal systems such as the Canada Revenue Agency can cause frustration. A Northern Service Centre in Whitehorse means Yukoners will now have the chance to physically speak to someone from the Canada Revenue Agency and receive direct support from an individual based in the territory.”

- The Honourable Sandy Silver, Premier of Yukon, Minister of the Executive Council Office, Minister of Finance

“The North has unique needs and priorities that sometimes require innovative solutions developed in consultation with the people who live here. The Government of the Northwest Territories welcomes today’s announcement and the ongoing efforts of the Government of Canada to understand and respond to Northern needs and priorities. Our government looks forward to continued collaboration with the Government of Canada to help ensure that Northerners get the services and support they need, and continue to have a meaningful say in decisions about the North and its future.”

- The Honourable Robert R. McLeod, Premier of Northwest Territories, Minister of Executive and Indigenous Affairs

“I’m pleased that Nunavummiut will have access to permanent services with the Canada Revenue Agency right here in the territory. This is a much needed service in Nunavut, and will certainly provide relief and aide all year round, but especially during tax season. Thank you to our partners within the Government of Canada for filling this void and bringing service delivery closer to home for northerners.”

- The Honourable Joe Savikataaq, Premier of Nunavut

Quick facts

  • The new strategy for improving services in remote regions will allow the Agency to:

    • have a physical presence in all territorial capitals through Northern Service Centres that will be open Monday to Friday during regular business hours;
    • expand the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, in which volunteers file income tax returns free of charge for individuals with a modest income and other vulnerable populations;
    • expand outreach activities and offer in-person information sessions to raise awareness of the benefits, credits and deductions that individuals may be entitled to;
    • expand Liaison Officer capacity to conduct on-site business visits and seminars adapted to include specific issues related to carrying-on business in the North and territorial taxes;
    • conduct educational activities before the start of the next tax-filing season on the northern residents deductions, to help more Canadians successfully claim the deductions without error;
    • set up dedicated telephone lines for residents in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut for the 2018 tax season.

Associated links

Contacts

Jérémy Ghio
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
613-995-2960

Media Relations
Canada Revenue Agency
613-948-8366

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