Technological Change Committee

Minutes of the Technological Change Sub-Committee Meeting

November 5, 2009

BETWEEN THE CANADA REVENUE AGENCY AND THE UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES

opening remarks

Ms. Pamela Abbott, Regional Vice-President, Pacific Region, and Union Co-Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting and stated that she was looking forward to productive discussions on the agenda items.

Mr. George Arsenijevic, Assistant Commissioner, Assessment and Benefit Services Branch, and Management Co-Chair, also welcomed everyone at the meeting. He stated that the Technological Change Sub-Committee was a very important Union-Management forum, and that there had been a great deal of activity on the technological change initiatives since the last meeting in May.

automation of retirement compensation arrangementS (rca)

Management stated that it would be looking into automating the processes related to the Retirement Compensation Arrangements (RCA), under which an employer makes contributions to a trust or custodian on, after, or in contemplation of an employee’s retirement or other severance from employment. This small workload, which was important in terms of taxation, was being completed mostly manually by approximately 10 Full-Time Employees (FTE) located at the Winnipeg Tax Centre (TC). They consisted of employees at the SP-01, -02, -04 and -05 levels with generic work descriptions. Management did not anticipate any human resources impacts due to this initiative since it would allow the employees to focus more on tax-related work rather than administrative tasks. The only change they would see would be in their allocation of work time.

taxfiler representative information system (tris) modernization

Management stated that the Taxfiler Representative Information System (TRIS) allowed taxpayers to use Form T1013 to authorize a representative to deal with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on their behalf. Since the introduction of the Represent a client service in 2006, representatives were able to view taxpayer’s tax information online, and to make changes, if necessary.

With the success of the Represent a client service, the number of T1013s received increased by 10% annually over the past 5 years, peaking at 4.5 million forms in 2008-2009. As a result, the Agency had not reached its service standards for the treatment of the form. The CRA has since undertaken a number of outreach activities in order to reduce duplication, and was experiencing a 15% decrease in the national intake of Form T1013s this year.

Management then advised the Union that it would also implement a 2D Bar Code initiative that would enable the CRA to capture the authorization data found in the 2D Bar Code generated on the T1013 by tax preparation software. This initiative would be implemented in February 2010.

Management stated that there would be no human resources impacts on indeterminate employees. A detailed analysis of potential impacts in each tax centre was being conducted; however, based on preliminary results, it was estimated that 30 FTE’s could be impacted at the SP-02 and SP-03 levels. Since T1013s were only a portion of their workloads, it was expected that the majority of these employees could be assigned other work.

Management would provide an update on the impacts at the next meeting of the Technological Change Sub-Committee.

Statistical tracking analysis and reporting system (stars) replatforming

Management stated that a portion of the Statistical Tracking Analysis and Reporting System (STARS) platform for debt management workloads was antiquated and would no longer be supported by the vendor. Therefore, Management began the process to replatform this part of the system, without changing any of its functionality. This change was expected to be implemented by October 2010. Management did not anticipate any HR impacts.

written updates

The Committee agreed to remove the following written updates from the next meeting’s agenda: Benefits Online Application, GST/HST Redesign, the Financial Remittance portion of Payment Modernization, Working Income Tax Benefits, Trust Compliance National Inventories, National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program, Interactive Information Services / Smartlinks, and In-Person Counter Redesign.

E-Resourcing

UTE asked if a delay was expected in the implementation of the e-Resourcing initiative. Management would look into the matter and get back to the Union.

Automated Benefits Application

Management clarified that the Automated Benefits Application initiative was implemented in Nova Scotia on April 8, 2009, in British Columbia on July 27, 2009, and in Prince-Edward-Island on October 14, 2009. It would be implemented in Ontario, and possibly in Quebec, during the summer of 2010. Furthermore, discussions had begun for potential implementation in Nunavut.

Management also informed the Union that preliminary reports indicated a take-up rate of 90% - 94%, with an expected 40% fall-out rate due to the reworking of the application.

End User Application Development Macro Releases

In response to the Union’s question, Management clarified that there would be no human resources impacts from the End User Application Development Macro Releases initiative, except for training and change management.

technological Change sub-committee process

Management proposed changes to the Tech-Change Sub-Committee process. Following a discussion on the matter, Management agreed to endeavour to schedule the Tech-Change Sub-Committee meetings either on a Wednesday or Thursday morning. Agenda items would focus on issues that were strictly technological changes. Furthermore, Management would provide the Union with a short synopsis of new verbal agenda items in advance of the meeting. Management also agreed to provide the Union with demonstrations of new systems, where feasible.

The Union agreed to provide Management with its concerns and/or questions on the written updates by noon the previous day, acknowledging that Management might not be in a position to provide answers at the meeting.
 
Both Management and the Union agreed that, over time, the Technological Change Sub-Committee had become very successful, and that the revised process would be reviewed in a few years, if needed.

Closing Remarks

Management thanked everyone for attending the meeting. The Union wished everyone a happy holiday season.

Original signed by

Original signed by

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

Betty Bannon
National President
Union of Taxation Employees

January 25, 2010

January 22, 2010

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