Systemic investigation into the consideration given to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in the Canada Revenue Agency’s training videos

February 25, 2016

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman is closing, without recommendation, its systemic investigation into whether the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in its policies and procedures for purchasing or producing training videos.

Background

In May 2012, the Honourable Gail Shea, then Minister of National Revenue, became aware of five training videos that might have been used by the CRA, which she found disturbing. She requested that my office review all training videos that the CRA had in use to verify whether they respected the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. She also requested that the Ombudsman review all future training videos to provide assurance that they respect the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

During the investigation my office examined all training videos used by the CRA. We also reviewed policy instruments to determine whether the CRA’s controls related to the production or purchase of training videos were adequate.

Findings

We found that the disregard of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights was limited to the five videos at the source of the former Minister’s concern. We found that all other CRA training videos respected the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. We concluded the five videos represented an isolated incident.

While we were reviewing the CRA’s policy instruments related to the production or purchase of training videos, the CRA amended them to emphasize the requirement to consider the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The CRA also made assistant commissioners accountable for the approval of presentations and learning materials related to interacting with the public.

The CRA has created a list of learning products with a video component and has made it accessible to my office. This will facilitate our ongoing review of current and future training videos.

We concluded that the CRA’s actions have adequately addressed the issues identified by the former Minister.

Next steps

A copy of this memorandum will be published on the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman’s website 60 days following its receipt by your office. A summary of our findings may also be included in our 2015-2016 annual report or published in a future newsletter on our website.

We will provide you with an update on the result of our ongoing review of CRA’S training videos related to interacting with the public, in six months.

Should you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Original signed

Sherra Profit

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