Statement from the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson regarding the service provided by the Canada Revenue Agency on the emergency benefit programs


Ottawa, Ontario

December 22, 2020

Today, Canada’s newly appointed Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson, François Boileau, issued the following statement on the response from Canadians regarding the service provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on the emergency benefit programs throughout the pandemic. 

“Prior to my appointment this past October, I have seen first hand the urgent and vital response by the Government of Canada during these unprecedented times.  Many of you needed the various programs and supports just to make ends meet. 

“While the Government did well to put in place these important programs to help millions of people and businesses, in doing so quickly, it created, understandably, some service issues.  The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson has heard those loud and clear. Many of you have made complaints regarding the lack of clarity about these programs and benefits.  In our role, we raised these issues with the CRA to help resolve them as quickly as possible and improve the information that is available to applicants, particularly on the website; and throughout these difficult times, the CRA has made a number of improvements.

“Recently, our Office has heard increased frustration and disbelief at the prospect of potentially having to repay benefits.  We have also heard your concerns about delays in the validation of eligibility for benefits and the lack of clarity about recourse options should you disagree with the decision on your eligibility. CRA has indicated that for many recipients, validation of eligibility will not be possible until they file their 2020 tax returns. These and other issues are part of the regular discussions that our Office has with the CRA to improve service for all taxpayers and benefit recipients. 

“My mandate is to protect your rights to appropriate service under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The CRA is committed to providing excellent service, but at times, it may not do so.  In those situations, our Office works to inform the CRA when its service has not met your expectations. 

“We do encourage you to first try to resolve your service issues with the CRA, or  formally through their Service Feedback Program.  However, please know that we are ready to assist you should you not be satisfied with the service you received. In addition, if you are facing financial hardship as a result of a service-related issue by the CRA, our office will communicate swiftly with the CRA to ensure you are treated fairly.”


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