Technological Change Committee

Sub-Committee Meeting Written Updates

May 7, 2009

1.  INTEGRATED SPEND MANAGEMENT
2.  TELECOM EXPENSE AND INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
3.  E-RESOURCING
4.  CAS SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT
5.  2D BAR CODE FOR CHARITIES RETURN WITH T3010B
6.  ELECTRONIC TRANSFER OF ACCOUNTING DATA
7.  MANDATORY ELECTRONIC FILING
8.  MY ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUALS – TAX AND BENEFITS
9.  MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT
10.  THIRD PARTY PRIVILEGED MANAGEMENT
11.  BENEFITS ONLINE APPLICATION
12.  QUICK ACCESS FOR INDIVIDUALS
13.  GST/HST REDESIGN
14.  PAYMENT MODERNIZATION
15.  WORKING INCOME TAX BENEFITS
16.  BENEFITS WORKFLOW CONSOLIDATION
17.  FAMILY ORDERS AND AGREEMENT ENFORCEMENT INTERACTION VIA THE ELECTRONIC INTERJURISDICTIONAL SET-OFF SYSTEM
18.  AUTOMATED BENEFITS APPLICATION
19.  EFILE AND 2D BAR CODE RETURNS
20.  MY PAYMENT – INTERAC ONLINE
21.  GST/HST BAR CODE
22.  PAYDAC RENEWAL – SOURCE DEDUCTIONS ACCOUNTING, FUNCTIONAL TRANSFER TO THE ASSESSMENT AND BENEFIT SERVICES BRANCH
23.  TRUST COMPLIANCE NATIONAL INVENTORIES
24.  NATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCURACY LEARNING PROGRAM
25.  INTERACTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES / SMARTLINKS
26.  IN-PERSON COUNTER REDESIGN
27.  ELECTRONIC BILL PRESENTMENT
28.  INTEGRATED REVENUE COLLECTIONS
29.  T1 EXPANSION
30.  ALL REVENUES TABLE
31.  END USER APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT MACRO RELEASES
32.  EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE AUDIT REPORTING TOOL
33.  TRUST EXAMINATION AUDIT SYSTEM
34.  E-LEGAL DOCUMENTS

 

1. INTEGRATED SPEND MANAGEMENT

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Integrated Spend Management (ISM) initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the ISM Release 2 implemented the use of an “acquisition card” for the purchase of goods and services. The scope had been increased to include all necessary functionality needed to replace the existing eight commodities in the current WBRO catalogue ordering system. This Release would be implemented in January 2009; training for the acquisition card holders was expected to take place in January / February 2009. Approximately 1700 employees would be trained.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

For Synergy Release 2, we utilized a classroom based Training strategy. A one day course was developed that covered:

  • Acquisition Card Program Overview,
  • Release 2 Implementation Plan and
  • Synergy “Buyer” instruction.

Delivery of training to end users was accomplished through a one week “train-the-trainer” session given in December during which Contracting Division, WBRO/Synergy Support employee from Headquarters and E-Business officers from the Regions were trained. This training included the modules above and also provided instruction on “best practice” approaches to the delivery of classroom training. These employees then rolled-out the training to all end user during January and February. Work is also underway to develop E-Learning products that will allow existing and new users greater independence in learning to navigate and use Synergy.

The Go-Live Date for Release 2 was January 22, 2009; the system is currently in use by approximately 1500 people across Canada. A phased introduction of the eight catalogues was chosen to mitigate risks and all catalogues should be on-line by early May.

2. TELECOM EXPENSE AND INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

issue

Management will provide an update on the Telecom Expense and Inventory Management (TEIM) System initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that the TEIM project was an integrated suite of tools that would create process efficiencies by automating the current paper-driven and manual telecom process.

management’s written response

The project is in its planning and design stage and there is no new information to report at this point in time.

3. E-RESOURCING

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the e-Resourcing initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the eResourcing Project continued to move forward to develop the web-based resourcing solution known as Taleo. Since the last update, Taleo’s core functionality had been finalized.

MANAGEMENT`S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The eResourcing Project continues to move forward with implementation. Internally, this solution is now known as the Electronic Recruitment System (ERS).

Since the last update:

  • CRA’s Adaptive Technologies team performed a comprehensive accessibility review, identified issues, and reported them to Taleo.
  • Public Affairs Branch performed a Common Look and Feel (CLF) review and raised some concerns in this regard. As a result, the Pilot scope was abbreviated to exclude the external process to reduce risk associated with the accessibility standards. Work is ongoing to resolve issues.
  • A pilot of an internal process began in January 2009 with the Information Technology Branch and will run for a four-month period. All feedback to this point has been very positive.

In the coming months, the eResourcing Project team will be:

  • Developing a project plan and other critical documents for the national implementation phase of the project.
  • Identifying the business requirements for the Student and EC groups and updating the solution accordingly.
  • Determining a solution for CLF requirements and implementing the solution.
  • Working with various stakeholders to develop content required for the national implementation.

The national implementation is expected for 2010. As indicated previously, Management does not anticipate any human resources impacts.

4. CAS SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Corporate Administration System (CAS) Sustainability Project initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that detailed business requirements for the Employee Self-Service / Manager Self-Service (ESS / MSS) portal redesign linked to the technical upgrade, and for the post-upgrade development initiatives had been drafted, approved, and submitted to the Information Technology Branch (ITB). ITB conducted preliminary fit-gap assessments to determine the feasibility of meeting these requirements, and whether additional information was necessary. ITB was now preparing the detailed solution designs.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

General

  • The project received implementation funding until March 2010, and additional funding for the analysis associated with the releases beyond that point.

  • The project is continuing Detailed Planning and will be presenting revised Detailed Planning Reports to RIMC in June 2009 and February 2010 for the subsequent releases.

  • ITB development work (coding and configuration) is nearing completion.

  • The Training and Communication Strategies have been approved.

  • A working group has been established to manage the procurement of a new tool to support CAS training.

  • The Manager User Group (MUG) has been consulted regarding the business requirements and the ESS/MSS portal prototype.

Testing

  • All functionality will undergo User Acceptance Testing (UAT), both to ensure that changes meet the business requirements, and to ensure that unaffected functionality still operates as intended. Each program area will plan for and conduct this testing.

  • All portal functionality will undergo Accessibility testing by Adaptive Technology.

  • Test preparation is underway for the July 2009 release.

5. 2D BAR CODE FOR CHARITIES RETURN WITH T3010B 

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the 2D Bar Code with T3010B initiative. 

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the Charities Directorate was in the process of finalizing the T3010B, which would precede the introduction of 2D bar code capability in Spring/Summer 2009. The Directorate anticipated communicating with the Ottawa Technology Centre (OTC) on workforce issues over the next few months as project timelines and business process implications were assessed and confirmed.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The 2D Bar Code with T3010B initiative is still on target with a Spring/Summer 2009 delivery. There is currently one software vendor who has been certified to produce the T3010B with a 2D bar code, with three more currently in the certification process. At this time it is difficult to speculate as to how many T3010B returns will be scanned via the 2D bar code, compared to keyed in the coming year.

6. ELECTRONIC TRANSFER OF ACCOUNTING DATA

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Electronic Transfer of Accounting Data (ETAD) initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the application was nearing its testing phase and was anticipated to be released as part of the October 6, 2008, My Business Account releases.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The Electronic Transfer of Accounting Data (ETAD) application pilot was put into production in February 2009. The first training and information session was provided to Small Business Auditors of the Newfoundland and Labrador TSO on February 9 and 10, 2009. The same training will be provided to the other three (3) piloted offices as follows:

  • Edmonton TSO: March 24, 25, and 26, 2009
  • Nova Scotia TSO: April 6, 7, and 8, 2009
  • Sudbury TSO: April 21 and 22, 2009

The ETAD application will be piloted for a period of approximately six months after which there will be an evaluation, adjustments and possible expansion to other TSO’s and/or other audit programs during the fall of 2009.

During the ETAD presentation, the auditors are reminded of the CRA policies for communicating with taxpayers. It is also mentioned that ETAD is a one-way secured and approved tool for taxpayers to send data to CRA. This application does not allow for contact between CRA and the taxpayers via email or other means. The ETAD application does not change the current Security Directorate guidelines regarding communication with taxpayers.

Finally, as stated in the previous written update, the management team is still of the opinion that there will be no impact on human resources as a result of this initiative.

7. MANDATORY ELECTRONIC FILING

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Mandatory Electronic Filing initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that with the discontinuance of the current Parliament and the delay in the introduction of legislation, some aspects of the plan had been delayed; however, the focus remained on supporting and promoting electronic filing.

The gradual impact on staffing levels from taxpayers filing electronically was expected to be managed through attrition and reassignment as the need for keying and the movement and retention of paper returns diminished.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

This initiative was introduced in the 2009 Budget Statement. Commencing in 2010 corporations with gross revenues exceeding $1 million are required to file electronically as are information slip issuers filing more than 50 information slips.

Impacts on staff remain unchanged and will be managed through attrition and reassignment as previously stated.

8. MY ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUALS – TAX AND BENEFITS

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the My Account for Individuals – Tax and Benefits initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

Individual Returns & Payments Processing Directorate (IRPPD) Portion

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that with release 13 (February 9, 2009), taxpayers would be able to get their NETFILE access code on My Account. This service already existed electronically on the NETFILE Web site and was simply being made available via the My Account portal as well. No human resources impacts were expected.

Benefit Programs Directorate (BPD) Portion

For Release 12 (July 2008), no major initiatives were implemented. For the February 2009 release, clients would be able to view the Working Income Tax Benefit Advance Payment Statement (RC210) forms.

No human resources impacts were expected.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

For the next release (release 14 – July 6, 2009), only maintenance activities are scheduled. No impacts on human resources are expected.

For release 15 (February 15, 2010), taxpayers will be able to view their Tax-Free Saving Account (TFSA) information.

Release

Release date

Release period

# of log ins for period

1

June 16, 2003

June 16/03 to October 6/03

83,834

2

October 6, 2003

October 6/03 to February 9/04

129,594

3

February 9, 2004

February 9/04 to November 4/04

1,988,121

4

November 4, 2004

November 4/04 to February 14/05

270,914

5

February 14, 2005

February 14/05 to October 3/05

1,240,945

6

October 3, 2005

October 3/05 to February 13/06

315,958

7*

February 13, 2006

February 13/06 to July 11/06

1,341,822

8

July 11, 2006

July 11/06 to February 12/07

954,809

9

February 12, 2007

February 12/07 to July 11/07

2,022,654

10

July 11, 2007

July 11/07 to February 11/08

1,196,350

11

February 11, 2008

February 11/08 to July 9/08

2,222,233

12

July 9, 2008

July 9/08 to February 9/09

1,364,167

*There was a minor release 7A on January 12, 2006, and a release 7B on February 13, 2006.

9. MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the My Business Account (MyBA) initiative. 

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the April 2008 release was successfully implemented.

As of August 2008, 38,509 business owners had registered and logged in 179,851 times. There were more than 250,000 representatives that had been authorized to access My Business Account. Despite the considerable increase, there were only 32,253 visits up to August 2008 from authorized representatives. The take-up rate in usage of the portal by authorized representatives should pick up as a result of the continuous addition of new services and marketing activities.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As of February, 2009, 52,610 business owners had registered and logged in 245,106 times and we also saw a considerable increase in the number of visits by authorized representatives. Representatives’ visits rose to 183,415 which represents a 469% increase compared to August 2008. The increase in the take-up rate could be the result of an insert about MyBA included with the Payroll statements and the fact that this was the peak season for Payroll reporting.

Despite the increase in access to MyBA there was no notable impact on telephone enquiries.

10. THIRD PARTY PRIVILEGED MANAGEMENT

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Third Party Privileged Management initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that, beginning February 2009, businesses registered with Represent a Client would have the ability to manage employee’s access to client information by assigning clients and employees to specific groups.

No human resources impacts were expected as a result of this enhancement.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

For the next release (October 5, 2009), maintenance activities are scheduled. No impacts on human resources are expected.

The October release will allow representatives to view the transactions performed on their business clients' accounts, and that they will be able to download a summary of their individual clients' tax information and download their client lists.

The April 5, 2010 release will allow businesses to better control a representative's or employee's access to business client information by authorizing them at a group level.

11. BENEFITS ONLINE APPLICATION

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Benefits Online Application (BOA) initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the impact on human resources (HR) was limited. All steps prior to the mainframe data processing of the benefit application had been eliminated on BOA submissions in Tax Centres (TC); however, the workload was compensated by the additional work created from the BOA logic in regards to Bring Forward (BF) and in progress statuses. The 100 percent review of all online applications for the first six months conducted to date revealed that there were no major compliance issues. The non compliance rate was less than 2%. Final results were not yet available.

Management planned to implement other random validation projects, if required.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

There has been no change to the impact on HR. The 100% review of all online applications that were processed in the first six months has been completed and found no major compliance issues. The non compliance rate was less than 0.9%. The non-compliance does not necessarily mean that the client willfully misrepresented information on their application; it means that they did not respond to the request for further information.

Based on these results no further random validation projects will be conducted.

12. QUICK ACCESS FOR INDIVIDUALS

issue

Management will provide an update on the Quick Access for Individuals initiative.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that there were no new developments scheduled for Quick Access; therefore, no human resource impacts were expected as a result of this service. To date, there had been approximately 800,000 successful logins to the service.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

To date, there has been approximately 1,200,000 successful logins to the service.

No new development scheduled. Management would therefore recommend that this item be removed as an item on the Technology Change committee meeting’s agenda.

13. GST/HST REDESIGN

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Goods & Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST / HST) Redesign initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the program areas continued to manage the increased transitional and on-going operational workloads. The final impacts would be determined in the 2008/2009 fiscal year once the systems and workloads became more stable.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The GST/HST Redesign move to the business common platforms release was successfully implemented in April 2007 and there have been three subsequent stabilization releases since then.

The project is in its final stages and will officially be closed in the 2009/10 fiscal year. The final release of the GST/HST Redesign initiative is scheduled for April of this year. The areas where there have been significant workload changes for the GST/HST program are: Accounting, Returns Processing and Rebates Processing.

As indicated in the spring of 2008 update, the on-going program workloads would be determined in the 2008/09 fiscal year once the systems and workloads had stabilized. We are now closer to realising the service standards that had been established prior to Redesign.

In 2007, Management informed the Union that the expected impact on human resources would be an increase of 167 FTE’s. Continued monitoring and experience to date indicates that the increase will be 133 FTE’s.

As the project is coming to a close, we do not anticipate any further significant impacts on human resources. Management would therefore recommend that this item be removed as an item on the Technological Change Committee’s meeting agenda.

14. PAYMENT MODERNIZATION

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Payment Modernization initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management provided the following updates:

Financial Institution (FI) Remitting

The Shawinigan Tax Centre (TC) began utilizing the remote keying functionality in May 2008. Conference calls continued on a regular basis between Headquarters, the Ottawa Technology Centre (OTC) and the Shawinigan TC to ensure the work was on track.

Direct Remitting

The Direct Remitting workload, with the exception of Payment on Filing (POF) payments, would be included in the Payment Modernization initiative at the OTC and Shawinigan in October 2009. The inclusion of the POF payments would be analysed and in all likelihood undertaken in a subsequent phase(s).

The FTE impact analysis for this workload was in progress.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Financial Institution (FI) Remitting / Remote Keying

The Shawinigan Tax Centre (TC) began utilizing the remote keying functionality in May 2008. The conference calls were held for 5 months between Headquarters, the Ottawa Technology Centre (OTC) and the Shawinigan TC to ensure the work was on track. The workload continues and is running smoothly. No further update should be required.

Direct Remitting

Electronic enhancements to the Direct Remitting workload, payments made directly to the CRA, will improve the way CRA processes payments. This initiative will result in the automatic imaging and reading of the cheques and vouchers for direct payments received at the OTC and Shawinigan TC.

The human resource impact at the OTC will be five (5) determinate SP2 employees for the fiscal 2009-2010 and an additional five (5) determinate SP2 employees for 2010-2011.

The project is on target.

15. WORKING INCOME TAX BENEFITS

issue

Management will provide an update on the Working Income Tax Benefits (WITB) initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the volume of applications continued to be lower than projected. The operating budgets had been adjusted in the processing Tax Centres to reflect the lower than expected inventories. For the upcoming tax filing season, Management conducted out-reach activities to help raise awareness of the WITB advance payment option.

The Agency was also in the process of establishing an agreement with Service Canada to distribute the WITB application forms and WITB pamphlets in their Service Centres, as well as conducting a targeted mail-out to an identified client base to increase awareness and take-up.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

An agreement was successfully brokered on January 5, 2009 with Service Canada to have WITB pamphlets and WITB advance payment applications in the Service Canada centres.

A targeted mail-out was completed in February 2009, inviting 30,000 current WITB tax credit recipients to apply for the advance payment. The mail-out included an invitation letter, a WITB advance application form and a return envelope.

The Public Affairs Branch is also conducting a promotional mail-out campaign to approximately 600,000 potential WITB recipients to raise awareness of the tax credit and the advance payment. This mail-out campaign is scheduled for March 2009.

The impact of the two campaigns is not yet known. The expectation is that the promotion campaigns will increase the benefit population, but to what extent is still undetermined.

We believe that sufficient funding has been allocated to the regions in 2009/10 and that no downward adjustment will take place.

16. BENEFITS WORKFLOW CONSOLIDATION

issue

Management will provide an update on the Benefits Workflow Consolidation initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that it had been determined that Graphic User Interface (GUI) design would be postponed until 2012. The use of this technology was the main reason to conduct a pilot in October 2009; therefore, the pilot was no longer needed. Full implementation would take place starting February 2010 with a staggered roll out to all TCs over a 4 month period. There would be no human resources impacts once the two systems were implemented.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Status remains the same.

17. FAMILY ORDERS AND AGREEMENT ENFORCEMENT INTERACTION VIA THE ELECTRONIC INTERJURISDICTIONAL SET-OFF SYSTEM

issue

Management will provide an update on the Family Orders and Agreement (FOA) Enforcement Interaction via the Electronic Interjurisdictional Set-off System (EISO), including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that there were no changes to the human resources impacts.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The initiative was successfully implemented in February 2008 with no other changes to the human resources impacts. Management would therefore recommend that this item be removed as an item on the Technological Change Committee Meeting's agenda.

18. AUTOMATED BENEFITS APPLICATION

issue

Management will provide an update on the Automated Benefits Application initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the Automated Benefits Application (ABA) initiative would be an integrated Canada child benefits application registration option, presented to applicants during the birth registration process.

Management planned to initially implement this initiative in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, in the beginning of June 2009. The entire implementation was expected to take approximately 3 years; however, this depended on the take-up rate of each province. Preliminary analysis indicated that approximately 16 full-time equivalents (FTE), at the SP-02 and SP-03 levels among all the Tax Centres (TC), would be affected over the 3 years. Management would share additional information once available.

management’s written response

Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with both Nova Scotia and PEI and are in progress with British Columbia and Ontario. Plans are to pilot this initiative in Nova Scotia (St. John’s TC) as early as late March/early April 2009 with the process being fully automated in July. Implementation is expected to take place in BC and PEI in June and July 2009 respectively, and in November 2009 in Ontario. The remaining provinces and territories will be scheduled over the next 2-3 years.

We continue to assess the HR impact based on further analysis which will be affected by the take-up rate of the new service by the early adopters. Management will provide more detailed information on both the schedule implementation with the provinces/territories and HR impact as it becomes available. Regional funding will not be reduced during the 2009/10 fiscal.

19. EFILE AND 2D BAR CODE RETURNS

issue

Management will provide an update on the initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would allow returns for Deceased and Pre‑Bankrupt taxpayers to be filed electronically (EFILE), as of February 2009. These returns would also be filed with the inclusion of two‑dimensional bar codes.

Management expected this initiative to result in 118,000 fewer paper‑filed returns; resulting in a decrease of 7.9 determinate Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) for a specific period at all Tax Centres (TC). Management would provide the Union with a breakdown of the impact on the affected work areas.

management’s written response

This initiative was implemented as expected in February 2009. The estimated impacts had already been provided at the November 6, 2008 meeting. Actual impacts will be known at the end of the 2009 Program (January 2010).

20. MY PAYMENT – INTERAC ONLINE

issue

Management will provide an update on the My Payment – Interact Online initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that it would introduce the My Payment web-based payment-processing portal, which would be available through the CRA main web page. The Agency was also seeking to expand e-payments to a broader audience, especially to small businesses that did not have a corporate bank account.

management’s written response

The My Payment self serve web application will be implemented in the fall of 2009. As this is a soft launch initiative, we expect the take-up rate to be gradual. Impacts will depend heavily on public perception and take-up rates. We are waiting for the Minister’s approval to do focus testing in order to solicit taxpayer feedback which will allow for better estimations. Currently, we are projecting the take up rate at 1% in the first year and up to 5% in the second year

The threat risk assessment was completed and approved eliminating any security concerns. My Payment does not have any privacy impacts. The only shared information with financial institutions will be a transaction number and amount payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

The impacts on human resources in fiscal 2009-2010 are 2 determinate SP-02 positions.

The impacts on human resources in fiscal 2010-2011 are projected at 9 determinate SP-02 positions.

21. GST/HST BAR CODE

issue

Management will provide an update on the GST/HST Bar Code initiative, including any human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that the objective of this initiative was to implement two new filing options that would allow GST/HST registrants to complete and file their GST/HST returns using accounting software.

management’s written response

The GST/HST Internet File Transfer and Bar Code initiatives will have a minimal impact on the current programs workload processes. Procedures will be updated accordingly to reflect the new filing methods.

The success of these initiatives is dependent upon take-up rates. It will take some time for accounting software to be updated to incorporate internet file transfer and bar code functionality. As a result, it is expected that for the first year after implementation, the volumes of bar coded or internet file transferred GST returns will be initially relatively low. The volumes may gradually build momentum over the course of the following few years as additional software developers come on board and incorporate these filing options into their software.

Given the initial low volumes, and the gradual up-take, we would expect no significant human resource impact that could not be managed through attrition and reassignments over course of the next few years. The approximate mature volumes would be reached 5 years after implementation (2014/15) and would have an impact of 16 FTEs overall.

22. PAYDAC RENEWAL – SOURCE DEDUCTIONS ACCOUNTING, FUNCTIONAL TRANSFER TO THE ASSESSMENT AND BENEFIT SERVICES BRANCH

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the PAYDAC Renewal - Source Deductions Accounting, functional transfer to the Assessment and Benefit Services Branch (ABSB), including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, the Union was informed that Tax Services & Debt Management Branch (TSDMB) and ABSB had completed a delineation of the field activities that related to source deductions accounting that would transfer with the functional responsibility for those programs to ABSB in April 2009.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

In a joint decision, TSDMB and ABSB have agreed to delay the transfer until April 1, 2010. The date of the functional transfer of Source Deductions Accounting has been realigned to coincide with the decisions related to the systems related accounting options. This will ensure that the organizational business architecture will be aligned with the systems architecture.

The workload study currently being completed in the Tax Services Offices (TSOs) will continue until September 2009. The information from this study will help to guide discussions and decisions with relation to accounting activities that are intertwined in the role and responsibility of a Trust Compliance Officer.

23. TRUST COMPLIANCE NATIONAL INVENTORIES

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Trust Compliance National Inventories initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that there were no human resource impacts anticipated as a result of this initiative. It was anticipated that all officers currently located in one of the 11 National Intake Centres (NIC) sites and those located in the Tax Service Offices (TSO) would continue to work compliance cases. The change in the program delivery model would create program efficiencies that were necessary to ensure more non-compliant cases to be addressed within the current envelope and would create a “portable” workload that may provide options for the regions to consider when facing human resource challenges.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

A comprehensive briefing on the Trust Compliance National Inventories initiative was provided to the National UTE representatives on February 26, 2009. This included information on the system changes, program organization, and tools and procedures that would be used by the Trust Compliance Officers in this program.

Final implementation activities were underway in the last two weeks prior to implementation, which was completed over the weekend of April 4 & 5, 2009. The first day officers worked in the new environment was April 6, 2009.

A final closing report will be provided to this committee in during the meeting scheduled for the fall of 2009.

24. NATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCURACY LEARNING PROGRAM

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program (NQALP) initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management advised the Union that the national call monitoring checklist used under the NQALP had been enhanced. An online version of the call checklist tool for standardized reporting of quality and accuracy data had replaced the paper based version. Quarterly reports previously submitted by the Call Centres based on the paper version of the call checklist were no longer required. Reporting continued to be used to identify local and national training, procedural and accuracy trends/gaps, as well as in the development of national training materials.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The NQALP online version of the call checklist tool for standardized reporting of quality and accuracy data is fully operational.  Reports continue to be generated and reviewed to identify local and national training, procedural and accuracy trends/gaps as well as in the development of national training materials.  

25. INTERACTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES / SMARTLINKS

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Interactive Information Services (IIS) / Smartlinks initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that in June 2008, the Smartlinks numbering system was reorganized to facilitate the expansion of links within each topic area on the CRA website. This coincided with the introduction of the Smartlinks database making analysis of Smartlinks survey data more efficient. The web pages and database for agents administered by the Taxpayers Service Directorate were simultaneously changed to minimize the impact on agents.

Management planned to add Smartlinks to new web pages such as the Tax Free Savings Account in January of 2009 and the Registered Disability Savings Plan in November of 2009. In addition, Smartlinks would be added to three account balance pages in My Business Account. These links would be available on payroll, corporation and GST/HST account balance pages commencing in April 2009. Expansion to other Call Centres continued to be in abeyance.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Smartlinks were added to select Web pages of the Tax Free Savings Account in January 2009. New links are scheduled to be added to the account balance pages of My Business Account on April 6, 2009. These links will be available on the payroll, corporation, GST/HST and Other Levies account balance pages. Expansion to other call centres is slated for review in the spring of 2009.

26. IN-PERSON COUNTER REDESIGN

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the In-Person Counter Redesign initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that there were three components to the In-Person Study that was conducted between March 17 and May 30, 2008:

  • Served by a Counter Enquiry Agent or Greeter;
  • Dedicated Telephone lines for calls originating from the counter; and
  • Taxpayers who chose not to use CRA Service Options.

From the results gathered, the CRA needed to continue to promote self-serve options through outreach, and educate those visiting the office. The option of appointment service would be made available to those taxpayers who need or prefer this method of service.

Final reports with full analysis would be available on all three components of the studies conducted.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The goal of CRA’s In-Person Strategy has been to migrate taxpayers to self serve options with agent assistance as required. This includes channels such as the Internet and the telephone and to offer service by appointment for those taxpayers who still need to meet with a CRA representative. The transformation began in January 2006 with service agents in TSOs educating and assisting taxpayers to use self-serve options available in the TSO such as the telephone and the web and offering agent assisted service as needed. By January 2007 all TSOs implemented service by appointment.

The service by appointment has been successfully implemented and considerable progress has been made towards moving taxpayers to self-serve options. The number of visitors walking-in to the TSOs has decreased by over 50%. Of those that continued to walk in throughout 2007/08:

  • 52% used the dedicated telephones in the TSO
  • 26% came to have documents stamped
  • 10% were assisted by greeter/service agent
  • 5% had a pre-scheduled appointment
  • 5% chose not to use services offered
  • 2% chose to use the thin client devices

The Counter Studies

During the period between March 17, 2008 and May 30, 2008, information on taxpayers visiting the TSO was gathered in order to gain a better understanding of why taxpayers come to our counters as well as their purpose and motivation to personally visit the office and to identify alternate ways of meeting taxpayers’ needs. Depending on what method of service the taxpayer chose, if any, the information was gathered by various means. Three different studies were conducted:

  1. Served by a Counter Enquiry Agent or Greeter (Appointment Study)

    • For taxpayers who had an appointment with a counter enquiry agent or were served without an appointment, an on‑line form was completed by the agent providing details about the enquiry and about the taxpayer personally.

    • For those taxpayers that had their enquiry resolved at that visit by the greeter, a count was taken regarding the type of question being asked by the individual. This tally was summarized and entered with the counter statistical forms every week.

  1. Dedicated Telephone Lines for Calls Originating from the Counter (Dedicated Lines Study)

  • For taxpayers who chose to use the dedicated telephones in the lobbies, a random sample of calls was recorded by the telephone agent. This captured the question asked by the taxpayer as well as details on whether the individual tried to obtain the information via the telephone or Web prior to coming to the office.

  • Taxpayers Who Chose Not to Use CRA Service Options (Walkout Study)

    • If the taxpayer chose not to use any of the service options offered by the TSO (appointment or referral to the telephones), they were asked to complete a paper questionnaire which would provide the reason why they chose to leave the office without receiving service as well as some information about the taxpayer personally. It was impossible to ask only individuals leaving the office without service to complete the forms, therefore all people visiting the TSO were provided with the questionnaire and a database was developed to isolate responses from walk‑outs versus all respondents.

  • More detailed reports are available for each of the studies mentioned above.

    Discussion on Findings

    Service by appointment has been implemented and there has been a significant decrease in walk-in traffic, the vast majority of taxpayers that continue to come to the TSO for service do so because they are unaware that CRA has moved to service by appointment. Approximately 5% of all visitors had a prescheduled appointment. Of the remainder, most were there for the first time and were not aware of service by appointment. Furthermore, many of them indicated that they did not try to obtain service via the telephone or the web prior to coming in. Results from the surveys show that the vast majority (95%) of those that are directed to use the dedicated telephones obtain the information that they needed. It can be assumed that some taxpayers may have believed that their enquiry needed face-to face interaction and they did not consider the telephone option or they may have encountered a busy signal in the past. With the increase in telephone accessibility and the positive experience they have in obtaining the information over the telephones in the TSO lobbies, it is expected that many will opt for these options in the future. With the improvements to the CRA Web site and the advancements with My Account, many taxpayers are able to resolve their enquiry without having to speak with an agent. Further, many of the enquiries are account specific and deal with simple requests such as printouts or change of address. It is foreseeable that the suite of services offered via My Account could be further enhanced to make this information available on‑line. Over time, these improvements to the self serve options could further reduce the number of taxpayers walking into the TSOs or having to call the 1‑800 services.

    There are a small proportion of taxpayers who have indicated that they would not use the telephone or web since they prefer face-to-face service.  Another very small proportion of taxpayers have also indicated that they require face-to-face service because of their special needs such as language barriers or disability or they have an urgent need to obtain information. These taxpayers currently receive service via an appointment or have their inquiry resolved by an agent or greeter upon their visit due to their specific circumstances and unique needs.

    The demographic profile of those that visit the office did not reveal results different from the general population demographics with the exception of age. Approximately one third of the visitors were over 60 years of age, in the general population this age group represents 25% of the population. While those in the 30-49 age group are 38% of the population but were 30% of walk-in visitors. This suggests that the younger age group is more likely to rely on the self service options such as the web and the telephone, while a higher percentage of seniors may prefer face-to-face service.

    Overall, the topic of enquiries was account specific and in alignment with the topics that are received over the 1-800 networks such as requests for printouts, change of address or business registration. The topic of appointments was quite diverse. Most appointments were not complex in nature and were prompted because: the taxpayer wanted an appointment, had a language or communication barrier, was not able to meet confidentiality over the phone, had to bring in documents or had an urgent need for information. This confirms that appointments are being scheduled for those individuals that either want or need to meet with someone face-to-face.

    Conclusion 

    CRA’s strategic direction to migrate taxpayers to self serve options with agent assistance as required is supported from the findings of the studies. The overwhelming majority of taxpayers who are directed to use the telephone when arriving at our offices are able to obtain the information that they require. There is confirmation that those taxpayers that need or want to have face-to-face service are obtaining it either via an appointment or when they walk-in, if their specific circumstances warrant it. Since the majority of taxpayers who walk in are not aware of service by appointment, there is a need to continue to promote self-serve options through outreach and by educating those visiting the office.

    The option of appointment service needs to continue to be made available to those who need or prefer this method of service. Over time, with increased awareness and education, most taxpayers will migrate to self-serve channels and we anticipate that the number of those that walk-in will continue to decrease. Those taxpayers who prefer face-to-face service or need it because of special needs such as age, communication barriers or because they need to bring in documents or have a complex enquiry will be able to have access to it by coming to the TSO.

27. ELECTRONIC BILL PRESENTMENT

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Electronic Bill Presentment (EBP) initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that there were approximately 700 businesses that had registered for E-PD7A. The majority of small employers still could not make electronic payments for payroll remittances via the personal banking platforms at Canadian financial institutions. There continued to be no impact on human resources or CRA operations.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

There continues to be no HR impact at this time as the take up rate is relatively small.

An employer will now be able to register for the E-PD7A without going through his Financial Institution. If the On-line Debit initiative is attractive, a client may then opt to receive their statements electronically via epost.

Currently, there are approximately 800 businesses that have registered for E-PD7A.

28. INTEGRATED REVENUE COLLECTIONS

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Integrated Revenue Collections initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, the Union was provided the following information:

Data Mining Update

The final report regarding this pilot project was currently being compiled. As of September 2008, 5229 returns were assessed, 2478 cases were discontinued, and 1185 cases remain outstanding. The total assessed amount, including penalties and interest, is $16.1M owing, which translated to an average of $3084 per tax return.

With the assistance of non-filer/non-registrant officers in the field, this pilot project demonstrated the ability of data mining models to effectively assist in identifying T1 non-filer accounts with tax owing. The results of this pilot would be used to enhance future Operations workload selection processes.

T1 Integration, Release 2

The Risk Management component would determine what automated action or series of automated actions should be taken to resolve a taxpayer’s T1 debt. The releases would be implemented in two phases; April and October 2009. There would be no impact to field users.

Business Rules Engine

Business Rules were now being managed by business personnel using the Dynamic Rules Manager. In April 2009, the Champion / Challenger functionality would be implemented and the first challenge using a data mining model (likeliness to pay in 90 days) would be put into production.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

IRC is making 2 major system releases in 2009. Release 2.0 in April and release 2.1 in October. There will be no direct impact on HR resources in the field as a result of these releases.

Data Mining Update

Two new pilots were planned for the Non-filer tax potential model (DM04). The first pilot began in February 2009 and targeted outstanding 2006 tax returns, which studied a selection of about 28,000 T1 accounts. The second pilot will target the 2007 tax year and is scheduled to begin in April 2009, using a select of approximately 50,000 accounts.

The results of these pilots will be used to improve the model and future Operations workload selection processes.

T1 Integration, Release 2

Nothing to report.

Business Rules Engine

Nothing to report.

29. T1 EXPANSION

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the T1 Expansion initiative.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that the T1 Expansion release took place in June 2008. There was no impact to field users as this release served as an initial step in creating the system components of the infrastructure of Integrated Revenue Collections (IRC). The CRA was in the post-production phase and in the process of resolving any identified issues.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

T1 Expansion is in production.

No further updates required as the functionality has now been replaced with Release 2.0. The management of all accounts previously in T1 Expansion will now be managed through Release 2.0 and reported on there.

30. ALL REVENUES TABLE

issue

Management will provide an update on the All Revenues Table (ART) initiative.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that effective
June 23, 2008, ART Release 2 was made available for users and the gaps identified had been rectified.

The HQ and Call Centre training would be scheduled in the near future. In addition, the new version of Report Net (Cognos C8) may result in further training requirements.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

ART has now been fully implemented. No further updates required.

31. END USER APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT MACRO RELEASES

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the End User Application Development Macro Releases initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that the T1 Taxpayer View Mainframe Macro Application (MMA) was now available in the T1 National pool sites. Development of the Non-filer taxpayer View Release 2 had been completed and was in testing with the Acceptance Testing Division (ATD). Roll-out of this MMA to TSOs was expected in February 2009.

ATD testing of the Accounts Receivable Platform, which was a Taxpayer View MMA would commence in November 2008. The first iteration of this application would coincide with the Integrated Revenue Collections (IRC) Release 2.0 scheduled for April 2009.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The deployment of the Non-filer Taxpayer View Release 2 MMA is being phased with a roll-out to all TSOs expected to be completed during the 1st quarter of 2009/10.
 
The Accounts Receivable Platform MMA is undergoing testing by the Acceptance Testing Division and will be ready for a phased deployment to TSOs starting in the 2nd quarter of 2009/10.

32. EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE AUDIT REPORTING TOOL

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Employer Compliance Audit Reporting Tool (ECART) initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management informed the Union that the new version of ECART (V2.0) was scheduled for regional testing in October 2008 with deployment to follow before December 31, 2008. All offices recognized the ECART tool as the standard to be used by the Employer Compliance Auditors.

Transition to this new version should only require minimal training and there were no expected human resources impacts.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

 
The new version of ECART (V2.0) is not yet completed and field testing has been indefinitely postponed until such time as programming resources are available.

All offices have recognized the ECART program as the standard to be used by the Employer Compliance Auditors and they are still using the current version.

When the new version becomes available, it will only require minimal training and there is no expected human resource impact.

This is our final response on this item.

33. TRUST EXAMINATION AUDIT SYSTEM

issue

Management will provide an update on the Trust Examination Audit System (TEAS) initiative, including human resources impacts.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that TEAS was currently in the developmental stages. TEAS would be undergoing its first testing session the week of October 20, 2008. Furthermore, a pilot for version one of TEAS was planned for the winter of 2009. This product would be used to conduct Trust Account and GST/HST Examinations. Pilot sites would be determined in concert with the Regional Program Advisors.

While transition to TEAS would require training there were no expected human resource impacts.
 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

TEAS testing occurred in four separate sessions beginning in October 2008 and concluding in March 2009. The development team will conduct piloting of TEAS in all Regions beginning the week of April 20, 2009. Once piloting is concluded on May 15, 2009, the development team will conclude any fixes required on TEAS and submit for National release with training beginning in June 2009.

Training will also be provided to the Trust Compliance Officers in Trust Accounts Examination who are responsible for processing the completed exams.

There are no expected HR impacts.

34. E-LEGAL DOCUMENTS

issue

Management will provide an update on the E-Legal Documents initiative.

background

At the November 6, 2008 meeting, Management stated that a review of the ‘pilot’ had been concluded in June 2008 and a recommendation to expand the electronic filing in the Ontario Region was made as it had various provincial registry systems. This would maintain the continuity and utilize the services of the Ottawa Federal Court office while working on the possibility of piloting with other Federal Court offices.

All offices in the Ontario and Pacific regions had agreed to participate in the pilot. Training was being planned in consultation with Legal Documents Processing Unit (LDPU) Management for the LDPU staff in order to allow offices to gradually join the project using a “phase in” approach over several months and extending into 2009-2010.

Any resource impacts would be assessed towards the end of 2009-2010.

management’s written response

The Electronic Document Service (EDOCS) pilot project expansion plan into the Ontario & Pacific Region on a monthly phase in approach has now been finalized. A delay in the set up of this expansion occurred as there were some technical challenges encountered at the Federal Court. These challenges now seem to be rectified.

The Ottawa and the East Central Ontario TSOs have been the first to join the EDOCS expansion on March 16, 2009.

All Ontario and Pacific Region TSOs should be on board by June 2009.