Engage Canadians to improve key Canada Revenue Agency services - Commitment 22


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Lead implementing department(s)
Canada Revenue Agency
Reporting period

Mid-term (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017)

Commitment description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

Service excellence is a top priority for the Canada Revenue Agency, and the agency is committed to ensuring high-quality services are delivered to Canadians in a way that makes them feel respected and valued.

What is the commitment?

The Government of Canada will undertake public consultations and engagement to support improved access to high-value, statistical tax data and publications, increased fairness of the rules governing charities’ political activities, and better understanding of factors affecting the low rates of benefit uptake.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

The Canada Revenue Agency is undertaking a number of key public consultation and engagement activities to respond to key challenges:

  • The Canada Revenue Agency currently publishes open data in various categories both on its website and on Canada’s Open Data portal. A better understanding of the public’s satisfaction with, and interest in, statistical tax publications and related data, is needed to meet the growing demand for data that is of value to Canadians.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency has committed to providing more information on the regulation of charities to the public in a timely manner and to ensuring the engagement of the charitable sector in support of rules that are fair, open, and easily accessible and understood.
  • Each year a number of Indigenous Canadians miss out on potential tax benefits. Through consultation, new data, and collaboration with other government departments and stakeholders the Canada Revenue Agency is seeking to empower Indigenous Canadians to obtain the tax benefits to which they are entitled.

Relevance to OGP values

This commitment relates to the OGP values of transparency and civic participation.

Status update

Deliverables in Action Plan

  1. Complete an online consultation with Canadians to measure public satisfaction with, and interest in, statistical tax publications and related data.
  2. Engage with registered charities, the public, and other stakeholders in the charitable sector to help clarify rules governing charities’ political activities:
    • Conduct online and in-person consultations sessions on what information is needed, what form any future rules should take, and how best to communicate them to stakeholders and the general public.
  3. Engage with Indigenous Canadians to better understand the issues, root causes, and data gaps that may be preventing eligible individuals from accessing benefits.

Expected results

Canadians will be more satisfied with publicly available statistical tax publications and related data. Charities will have clear rules regarding political activities. Through consultations, Indigenous Canadians and vulnerable communities will be empowered to obtain the tax benefits to which they are entitled

Description of results

  1. A survey on how to improve access to high-value, statistical tax data and publications was posted online in August 2016. The online survey has generated insufficient data to date due to very low take-up. As a result, to promote a better response rate, steps have been taken that include a new user friendly format along with the introduction of pop-up windows.
  2. Online and in-person consultations of the rules governing charities’ political activities completed in December 2016. Over the consultation period, the Canada Revenue Agency received almost 20,000 written submissions from charities and individuals, and met with 167 representatives from the charitable sector. A Consultation Panel reviewed the consultation feedback and presented a report to the Minister of National Revenue at the end of March 2017.
  3. Public opinion research with Indigenous communities was conducted between February and May 2017 to better understand factors affecting benefit uptake.

    Public opinion research with vulnerable populations (including urban Indigenous Canadians) was conducted in March 2017 to better understand factors affecting benefit uptake.

Next steps to June 2018

  1. The take-up of the re-positioned survey will be evaluated over a three month period after the upcoming transition to Canada.ca to gauge if other data collection methods are needed.
  2. The Government is reviewing the Consultation Panel’s report to help inform its regulation of charities going forward. The Government plans to officially respond to the report.
  3. The Canada Revenue Agency will establish a special project team, including representatives from other departments, to review the findings from these studies and other research projects conducted in 2016-17 (e.g., work with Statistics Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada to estimate tax filing and benefit uptake rates) and it will develop next steps regarding how to apply the research findings. The project team will include a sub-committee on communications to develop a communications strategy and plan for release of the research findings and engagement with external groups.

Completion level

  1. Limited
  2. Completed
  3. Completed

Additional information

“Serving You Better” consultations with small and medium businesses and accountants to better understand their needs were completed in December 2016. The Canada Revenue Agency heard from participants across Canada, and the consultations generated over 1,500 comments and suggestions that will help improve services for businesses. In response, the Canada Revenue Agency published a report in June 2017 that outlines clear deliverables to improve services for small and medium businesses through to 2019.

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