Technological Change Committee

Minutes of the Technological Change Sub-Committee Meeting

May 7, 2008

BETWEEN THE CANADA REVENUE AGENCY AND THE UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES

opening remarks

Ms. Barbara Slater, Assistant Commissioner, Assessment and Benefit Services Branch, and Management Co-Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting and announced that she would be retiring at the end of May. Management thanked all the participants for their considerable contribution in making the Technological Change Sub-Committee such a success over the past years. The ongoing dialogue and consultation with the Union on the various issues allowed both parties to be made aware of the challenges and opportunities within the Agency.

Ms. Pamela Abbott, Regional Vice-President, Pacific Region, and Union Co-Chair, thanked Management and stated that the Union appreciated the good work conducted during and in between meetings.

mandatory electronic filing

Management informed the Union that the existing legislation required information slip users filing more than 500 slips to file electronically. However, the proposed legislation would lower the threshold criteria for the mandatory electronic filing of information returns from 500 to 50 information slips. It was estimated that 31 determinate Ottawa Technology Centre (OTC) employees at the SP-01, SP-02 and SP-03 levels (formerly CR-02, CR-03, CR-04 and DA-CON-03) would be impacted by this initiative.

Furthermore, Management stated that the proposed legislation would also require corporations with a gross income exceeding $1 million to file electronically, which would result in an estimated reduction of 18 determinate and 14 indeterminate positions among all the Tax Centres (TC). The group and level of these positions had not yet been determined.

A two-year transition period was expected, and it was anticipated that mandatory electronic filing would begin in 2010. Management expected that the reduction of indeterminate employees would be managed through attrition and reassignment; however, these changes were contingent on the legislation being passed in Parliament.

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

Management stated that it would begin work on three specific components of the PAYDAC Renewal Project. The first component would remove the duplication of employer identification information currently located in both PAYDAC and Business Number, by removing it from the PAYDAC system. The second component would involve moving compliance strategies to the Revenue Enforcement Management Information & Tracking System (REMITS). The third element of the project would include the transfer of functional responsibility for source deductions accounting from the Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch (TSDMB) to the Assessment and Benefit Services Branch (ABSB). This would better align functional responsibilities, as most accounting activities were located in the Business Returns Division of each Tax Centre.

Management indicated that a cross-branch working group would determine the specific activities that were related to source deductions accounting. The appropriate funds would then be transferred to ABSB to allow for the continued program delivery in April 2009. Management would share the results of the study with the Union when completed.

In response to the Union’s question, Management stated that, while it did not anticipate any human resources impacts, it was too early in the process to determine what course of action would be taken.

trust compliance national inventories

Management advised the Union that it would implement a non-geographic work distribution of Trust Compliance workloads. Within the current work environment, the workload from the GST and PAYDAC programs were divided between the National Intake Centres (NIC), that have a non-geographic work distribution, and the Trust Compliance programs located in TSOs that allocated work based on a geographic distribution. This initiative would extend non-geographic distribution beyond the NIC sites to include the TSO workloads.

The cases would be allocated to any available officer within the program from the parent inventory without regard for the location of the taxpayer/employer or the location of the officer. This would require system changes to the Automated Collections and Source Deductions Enforcement System (ACSES). Officer inventory sizes would be standardized to allow for a maximum number of cases to be managed by compliance officers at any given time, and would ensure the highest return on investment by making sure that work was being completed on higher value cases.

Management did not anticipate human resources impacts; however, some training may be required. This initiative should be in place by April 2009.

Electronic transfer of data

Management stated that the Electronic Transfer of Data initiative would allow taxpayers of Small and Medium size businesses to transfer electronic accounting data to CRA auditors via My Business Account (MyBA) using a secure ePass. Once in the MyBA system, there would be a link to the Electronic Transfer of Accounting Data (ETAD) system that would allow taxpayers to securely transfer data to the auditor. The auditor would then receive an email indicating that the data was ready to be retrieved from a LAN to which they could access via a link in the email. If the files were not retrieved within one month, the AIMS coordinator would notify the auditor that the data was waiting to be downloaded. The data would be deleted if it was not downloaded in 60 days.

Management stated that this project would provide auditors and taxpayers with the means of exchanging electronic data without the use of removable media, such as CDs, DVD, USB flash drives and memory cards. Furthermore, the system would allow the auditor to receive the data without going to the taxpayer’s place of business. This system should be available in October 2008.

Management did not anticipate any human resources impacts; however, instruction sheets would be made available to the auditors to assist them in this process. Any additional training would focus mainly on coaching the taxpayer on how to use the system.

The Union asked if employers could send payroll records via MyBA. Management stated that this was not intended for employers, but for taxpayers being audited.

2d bar code for charities return with t3010b

Management stated that charities filed 83,000 returns (currently the T3010A) each year with the CRA, which contained information required for compliance and public information purposes. This information was keyed into the Charities Assessing and Registrations Environment (CARE) system at the Ottawa Technology Centre. In January 2009, the Charities Directorate would introduce a revised T3010B form, and subsequently a 2D bar coding system in June 2009, for those charities using externally developed software packages. This would allow for direct transmission of returns data into CARE.

The 2D bar code initiative offered several benefits for charities, such as reduced processing time; expedited posting of public information to the Charities and Giving web site; improvement in the quality of data; and the reduction of keying costs. In light of this, Management estimated a significant uptake of the 2D bar code initiative over the next several years.

Management informed the Union that, due to variations in workload over the past year, the only employees likely to be impacted by this initiative would be those hired in term positions in the OTC. The scope of these impacts would become more evident over the next 6 to 18 months; however, employees in the Charities Directorate would not be affected.

written updates

For the record, the Committee agreed to remove the T1 2D Bar Coding, Pre-Authorized Payment Plan on Internet and Integrated Charities System written updates from the next meeting’s agenda.

Third Party Privileged Management

Further to the Unions request, Management agreed to provide statistics on the usage of the Represent a Client system.

Arrange Direct Deposit

Management clarified that the FTE reduction had decreased from an estimated 3 FTEs to 1.33 FTEs, which would be spread out among the seven TCs.

Benefits Online Application

In response to the Union’s question, Management stated that it did not know what the follow-up percentage of application review would be, but assured UTE that it would be statistically significant. Due to lower than expected take-up rates, Management also expected that there would be no HR impacts at this time.

Payment Modernization

Management stated that, in order to minimize risk, a second payment processing site was being established at the Shawinigan TC.  Equipment had been purchased to enable Shawinigan to process the Financial Institution workload.  As at April 1, 2008 there was a reduction of 5 FTEs at the OTC.  Any further transfer of work from the OTC to Shawinigan would be done gradually in order to minimize any negative HR impacts.

Working Income Tax Benefits

The Union asked for the break-down of term and indeterminate employees working on this initiative. Management replied that the majority of staff were composed of terms, as the take-up of this program had been lower than expected, and because they were still looking to identify what the final requirements would be to process this workload. Once the requirements were established, these employees would eventually become indeterminate. Furthermore, Management would also be looking into conducting some publicity to increase the take-up rate.

Benefits Workflow Consolidation

In response to the Union’s question, Management advised UTE that a release strategy had yet to be prepared and approved. Proposals would need to be analysed to determine the best approach in implementing this initiative, which would include conducting a pilot in one of the TCs. Once a decision had been made regarding the location of the pilot, the Union would be advised.

Family Orders and Agreement Enforcement Interaction via the Electronic Interjurisdictional Set-Off System

The Union asked how Management planned to manage the HR impacts. Management replied that the OTC would deal with these impacts internally. They assured the Union that the two indeterminate employees would not lose their jobs, nor would they be placed in a WFA situation. The Union expressed concern that the WFA provision would not be used, and stated they would follow-up on that issue at the local level.

National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program

The Union asked to be provided with an updated National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program quarterly report. Management agreed.

Trust Examination Audit System

In response to the Union’s question, Management confirmed that the project schedule was on track and once the pilot site had been chosen the Union would be informed.

E-Legal Documents

Management stated that the pilot had been very successful by reducing the time taken to process legal documents from several weeks down to several hours. They went on to add that the ‘operational issues’ outlined in the Written Updates had to do with the quality of data input into Access and the approval from the provinces. Management stated that it would expand the project once these issues were resolved.

Pre-Authorized Payment Plan on Internet

The Union requested the uptake numbers for this program. Management stated that the service had been used 5,471 times (4,827 in Arrears and 644 for Instalments). Management noted that there had been little publicity for this initiative to date, but stated that it would be promoting it more actively in the future.

E-Resourcing

The Union asked for clarification with respect to the statement that the E-Resourcing Initiative was a pilot but was also being deployed nationally. Management stated that, while the initiative would be rolled out nationally, a pilot would also be conducted prior to implementation to ensure that the system was effective and functioned as expected. The pilot would take place in the Information Technology Branch, and would be used for both an external and internal process.

The Union asked for clarification with respect to the link between the Offer Management Macro (OMM) and E-Resourcing. Management explained that they were separate projects: one designed to help managers create letters of offer (including term renewal offers), and the other to manage job notices, applications, pre-screening and tracking offers.

Integrated Spend Management

The Union asked for clarification regarding the Professional Buyers. Management agreed to look into this issue and get back to the Union.

Integrated Charities System

The Union asked why the CRA was not using the WFA provision in this situation. Management indicated that Charities Tracking System (CTS) was a case management system that did not affect individual jobs.

closing remarks

Management thanked everyone for their input at the meeting. The Management Co-Chair stated that the Committee was working very well, as evidenced by the fewer Verbal Agenda items and by the items removed from the Written Updates.

The Union thanked Management for their time. It was pleased to note that, for the Verbal Agenda items, Management used the new classification standard, and asked if the Written Updates could be amended accordingly. Management agreed. Finally, the Union took the opportunity to thank Barbara Slater on her commitment to work with the Union on issues of concern. UTE presented the Assistant Commissioner with a token of appreciation and wished her well in her retirement.

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

July 29, 2008

July 29, 2008

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