The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman releases her Office’s newest systemic examination report on her Office’s 10th anniversary

News Release

February 21, 2018 — Ottawa, Ontario — Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman (OTO) is proud to release its 11th systemic examination report as it enters its 11th year. The report, entitled Benefits Unsheltered, examines systemic service issues related to the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) communication and outreach efforts to shelters regarding benefits and credits administered by the CRA.

In December 2016, Minister Lebouthillier was made aware that women living in shelters with their children may be facing challenges receiving information on their Canada Child Benefit (CCB) from the CRA. She requested the Ombudsman’s assistance to better understand what service issues existed and to what extent. After preliminary research was done and several issues were found, it was decided that the OTO would officially launch an examination into the matter.

As a result of this examination, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman made three recommendations to the Minister of National Revenue for the CRA to improve the communication and outreach to shelters regarding benefits and credits administered by the CRA. The CRA has accepted all three recommendations and provided an action plan to address the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

The Ombudsman may initiate a systemic examination at the request of the Minister or on her own initiative. Service issues are deemed systemic when they may impact a large number of taxpayers or benefit recipients or a segment of the population. Recommendations arising from these examinations aim to improve the service provided by the CRA to taxpayers and benefit recipients.


“For persons using shelters, accessing benefits and credits administered by the CRA can be crucial. It is important that the CRA provide sufficient communications and outreach to those persons and the shelters they use, to raise awareness of the benefits and credits available to them.”

“In raising this issue, the Minister of National Revenue listened to the concerns of vulnerable taxpayers and identified a service issue that may exist within the agency she oversees. The raising of this issue demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring taxpayers and benefit recipients apply for and receive the benefits and credits for which they are eligible.”

“Since day one, my Office has been working to increase awareness about taxpayer service rights, resolve individual complaints, and improve the service that taxpayers receive from the Canada Revenue Agency. We have been looking after taxpayers’ service rights for 10 years now and will continue to do so with great pride and pleasure.”

—Sherra Profit, Taxpayers’ Ombudsman

Quick Facts

  • About the Ombudsman

    • The Taxpayers’ Ombudsman is responsible for advising the Minister of National Revenue on matters relating to service provided to taxpayers by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
    •  The position was established in 2007 and the first Ombudsman was appointed in 2008. Ms. Profit is the second person to hold this role.
  • About the scope of homelessness in Canada

    • According to a 2016 study conducted by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, approximately 35,000 Canadians are homeless on a given night and at least 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year. Among those individuals, 27.3% are women, 18.7% are youth, 24.4% are older adults and seniors, and 28 34% are Indigenous Peoples. The study found families stay in shelters twice as long as individuals. A second independent study states there has been a 50% increase in the number of families with children using organizations in the past decade.

Associated Links


Media relations - Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman

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