Technological Change Committee

Minutes of the Technological Change Sub-Committee Meeting

May 7, 2009

BETWEEN THE CANADA REVENUE AGENCY AND
THE UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES

opening remarks

Mr. George Arsenijevic, Assistant Commissioner, Assessment and Benefit Services Branch, and Management Co-Chair, welcomed everyone at the meeting and stated that he looked forward to the discussions.

Ms. Pamela Abbott, Regional Vice-President, Pacific Region, and Union
Co-Chair, thanked the Assistant Commissioner.

compliance systems redesign

The Compliance Systems Redesign (CSR) would focus on modernizing management information systems that would lead to enhanced risk management, workload development and file selection; provide new tools to better manage workloads and doing the actual audit/investigation work; and capture the results for reporting and analysis purposes.

The CSR would use an iterative approach to develop an integrated suite of solutions. Major releases were planned for each of the next three years, the first of which was scheduled for October 2009. The components being implemented in Release 1 would be laying the foundation on which subsequent releases would be built.

Release 1 would deliver the basic framework for viewing taxpayer information from one integrated source and the first version of automated working papers that would link to audit reports. It would be focused on Research, Risk Analysis and Workload Selection, Work Management and Audit and Investigative Tools. The Taxpayer view application had been successfully piloted at the Edmonton and Ottawa Tax Services Offices (TSO).

The main target client for Release 1 is the Office Audit business program. The first deployment, scheduled for November 2009, would be done in the Atlantic Region and would be used by 23 TSO employees and 33 Tax Centre (TC) employees at the SP-04, -05 and MG-03 levels.

Management had taken a number of steps to facilitate a smoother transition between the working environments. These include an Organizational Change Readiness Assessment (Compliance Programs Branch (CPB)), a deployment plan that follows a phased-in roll out, the development of training materials and the actual delivery of training. Training would be provided in June, and a team would be on site to provide assistance when the initiative was deployed. Management confirmed that this initiative would have no WFA impacts.

In response to the Union’s question on when Management expected it would implement Release 2 of the CSR, Management stated that work had begun and that it anticipated being ready for October 2010. Management offered the opportunity to present the Union with a demonstration.

tax free savings account

The Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) was introduced as part of the 2008 Federal Budget and came into effect on January 1, 2009. This initiative would allow residents to contribute up to $5,000 annually into a special savings account where the investment could grow tax-free.

Starting in February 2010, the TFSA-issuing financial institutions would provide the CRA with individual account holder information including contributions, withdrawals and other details. A core TFSA processing system was being developed which was expected to interface with more than 30 existing CRA systems and applications. Across the Agency, full implementation of all aspects related to the TFSA would touch over 120 different areas.

Although TFSA processing would be largely automated using a new system, a Processing Unit would be required for certain tasks, such as handling exception cases, as well as administrative relief requests. 

In response to the Union’s question, Management indicated that the anticipated number of employees that would be required, as well as the locations of the Processing Units, had yet to be determined. More specific details would be provided in the fall of 2009.

corporate letterbook system replacement

The purpose of the Corporate Letterbook System (CLS) Replacement initiative was to replace the existing functionality currently available in the CLS with a CRA built solution that was expected to be released in spring 2010. The application would need to be replaced as the CLS was built using technology that would be outdated and not supported by the CRA.

The CLS was an application owned and maintained by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) that supported Accounts Receivable Government Programs (ARGP). The CLS provided the correspondence functionality used by ARGP field collectors for communicating with debtors, third parties and internal parties on HRSDC-related workloads. While HRSDC would be sun-setting the usage of the application in the near future, it would provide CRA with minimal support during calendar year 2009.

The requirement for the CLS Replacement included identical functionality (batch print, archive, reprint, and template maintenance) to produce documents (letters, forms, etc.) through batch processes as the current system did. As the process for using the replacement system would remain the same, minimal training and no human resource impacts were expected.

In response to the Union’s question as to whether this system would be used by collection officers from other programs, Management clarified that this system was only intended for HRSDC-related workload.

written updates

The Committee agreed to remove the following written updates from the next meeting’s agenda: Quick Access for Individuals; Family Orders and Agreement (FOA) Enforcement Interaction via the Electronic Interjurisdictional Set-Off System (EISO); All Revenues Table; and Employer Compliance Audit Reporting Tool (ECART).

E-Resourcing

The Union asked that the French version be amended to remove the ‘E’ from NSI. Management agreed.

Electronic Transfer of Accounting Data

The Union asked if the Newfoundland and Labrador, Edmonton, Nova Scotia and Sudbury TSOs were the only offices that had piloted the project. Management would get back to the Union on this matter.

Benefits Online Application

Management confirmed that there would be no HR impacts as a result of this initiative.

GST/HST Redesign

The Union noted that this initiative was not completely implemented in the field, and would like to see the final report before it was removed from the written updates.

Furthermore, the Union asked for the number of employees that would be impacted by this initiative. Management indicated that, although determining the actual number of employees the FTE count represented would be difficult, it would look into the matter and get back to the Union.

My Payment – Interac Online

Management confirmed that the impacts would be on term employees at the Ottawa Tax Centre (OTC) only. The Union asked if these employees had been offered opportunities to work in another area. Management noted that this was specific, data-entry work. Some work was being redirected from Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGCS), which could mitigate the impacts.

National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program

The Union asked to remove the word ‘pour’ from the last sentence of the French Written Update. Management agreed.

Trust Examination Audit System

Management noted that the employee training would begin in September 2009 instead of June 2009.

closing remarks

Management thanked the Union for their input, and noted the productive and effective exchange between the sub-committee members.

The Union also acknowledged the open dialogue and was looking forward to more discussions on the written updates at the November meeting, given that many of the initiatives would have reached important milestones. In addition, the Union was pleased that Management held an ad-hoc conference call, in between meetings, to provide an update on the Trust Compliance National Intake initiative.

Original signed by

Original signed by
Bob Campbell for

George Arsenijevic
Assistant Commissioner
Assessment and Benefit Services Branch
Canada Revenue Agency

Betty Bannon
National President
Union of Taxation Employees

July 24, 2009

July 23, 2009

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