Technological Change Committee

Sub-Committee Meeting Written Updates

May 8, 2006

1. WAREHOUSE RATIONALIZATION PROJECT (WRP)
2. AUTHENTICATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (AMS)
3. NETFILE
4. EFILE ON-LINE
5. NATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCURACY LEARNING PROGRAM
6. ELECTRONIC BILL PRESENTMENT
7. MY ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUALS – TAX AND BENEFITS
8. INTERACTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES (IIS) / SMARTLINKS
9. GOVERNMENT ON LINE (GOL) INCOME VERIFICATION PROJECT
10. PROCESSING EFFICIENCIES
11. MANUAL NOTICE PREPARATION PROGRAM
12. MICROFILM EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT
13. 2D BAR CODE
14. GST/HST REDESIGN
15. T2 2D BAR CODING
16. CHANGE MY RETURN
17. EXPANDED USE OF BUSINESS NUMBER BY ONTARIO
18. INTEGRATED REVENUE COLLECTIONS (IRC)
19. NON-PROFILE TO PROFILE
20. SHUTDOWN OF THE AUTOMATED GENERAL LEDGER (AGL)
21. EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE AUDIT REPORTING TOOL (ECART)
22. END USER APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT MACRO RELEASES
23. DISABILITY TAX MEASURES INITIATIVE (DTMI)
24. CALL CENTRE UPGRADED TECHNOLOGY
25. PRE-AUTHORIZED PAYMENT PLAN ON INTERNET
26. Post-Dated Cheque (PDC) Redesign
27. THIRD PARTY PRIVILEGED MANAGEMENT


1. WAREHOUSE RATIONALIZATION PROJECT (WRP)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on this initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union was advised that the radio frequency (RF) bar code scanning equipment had been installed and tested.  Furthermore, installation of the carousel equipment would begin in Mississauga, along with onsite testing.  The carousel equipment was expected to be operational by June 27, 2005.  The carousel equipment would not be introduced in Winnipeg. 

The Union asked to be provided with the number of employees currently working in this section, as well as the number of employees that would be impacted.  Management replied that out of the twelve employees, eight employees could potentially be impacted; however, if the quantity of work increased, then it was probable that more resources would be required.

The Union asked for the breakdown of FTEs prior to implementation, including the number of part-time/full-time term employees and part-time/full-time indeterminate employees, as well as the groups & levels.  Management agreed to provide the required data.

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, Management informed the Union that the carousels were implemented in early July as planned.  Management would be using the period between November 2005 and April 2006 to fully test the impact of carousels on forms distribution at the Eastern Distribution Centre (Mississauga).

Management anticipated hiring eight (8) fewer people (determinate) for the peak period of the filing season  (January-April 2006) in the area of forms distribution due to the installation of the carousels. No indeterminate employees would be declared affected due to the implementation of the carousel.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As predicted, the implementation of the carousel technology resulted in eight fewer people being hired for the peak period.  Management is pleased to advise that implementation of the WRP technologies (Radio-Frequency scanning equipment, bar-coding and carousels) is now complete and that the anticipated improvements (automated tracking, enhanced inventory management and space utilization) have been realized and we would like to express our appreciation for the support from all stakeholders on this important initiative.

The Agency suggests that this be the final update on this initiative.

2. AUTHENTICATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (AMS)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Authentication Management Systems initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that My Account (which includes Address Changes Online) was successfully deployed to CRS on February 14, 2005.  The migration from CRA’s own solution to a common Government of Canada solution enabled citizens to obtain an epass (on-line credential) that can be used across the government.

CRA continued to work with PWGSC to further improve the service and additional significant improvements had been scheduled for implementation in Releases 7.0 and 7.5 to the Secure Channel Releases scheduled for 2006.  Management continued to monitor the situation to ensure long-term ease of access for clients. 

As of November 7th, the Secure Channel was working to increase the browser support and Quarter 1 Macintosh Safari was also now supported.  Release 7.X (Spring 2006) would address some of the other issues, and the implementation of those improvements would resolve many of the current client complaints.

No human resources impacts were anticipated for AMS.

MANAGEMENT WRITTEN RESPONSE

On February 13, 2006, in partnership with Authentication Management Systems (AMS), Secure Channel implemented Release 7.0 of the Common Registration System (CRS) and three weeks later, implemented Release 7.1.  These releases included supporting new browsers Macintosh Safari version 1.3 and 2.0 and improvements to usability issues as outlined by usability testing and taxpayer complaints.

Since February 2006, CRA has had over 1.1 Million successful logins and has issued over 250, 000 Activation Code letters.  CRA continues to strive to improve this service by conducting focus testing and by working with other areas to add new online services.  AMS is currently working on an authentication model with My Business Account.  This new service is scheduled for release on October 9, 2006.
 
No human resources impacts were anticipated for AMS.  The Agency suggests that this be the final update on this initiative. 

3. NETFILE

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on this NETFILE initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union asked if human resources impacts were anticipated, and whether NETFILE would remain in the Winnipeg and St. John’s Tax Centres.  Management replied that no human resources impacts were anticipated, and that NETFILE would remain at both centres.

The Union also asked for clarification on the information in the written response regarding the three million returns that had been filed using NETFILE, representing a 20% increase from the previous year, yet no human resources impacts were expected.  Management clarified that, while it was not always easy to predict the impacts, the statement should be amended indicating that no reductions were foreseen for the e-services help desk. 

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, Management informed the Union that, for the 2005 program, approximately 3.5 million returns were filed using NETFILE software, which represented a 16% increase from the previous year.  Management did not expect any reductions in human resources for the e-services helpdesks.

MANAGEMENTS WRITTEN RESPONSE

As of April 25, 2006, approximately 2.8 million returns were filed using NETFILE, which represents a 7% increase from the previous year.

4. EFILE ON-LINE

(nee: EFILE INTERNET)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the EFILE ON-LINE initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Unions were informed that as of September 29, 2004, approximately 7.3 million returns were filed using the EFILE On-Line service, a 7% increase over last year’s program.  The VAX was removed from service without incident or HR impacts.

At this point, EFILE Modernization can be considered completed. There are, however, some minor modifications to the EFILE systems, such as including Agents who prepare Corporate Tax Returns in the AGENT system.  The modifications are of such a minor nature that EFILE Helpdesk staff would not be attending training sessions in Ottawa. 

The Agency would continue to market and promote EFILE ON-LINE to third party tax practitioners, mainly through e-services information sessions.  Although EFILE Helpdesk employees participated in a marketing project during the summer of 2004, further participation in marketing activities would be limited.  Additional resources would be provided to the EFILE Helpdesks during the summer of 2004 to participate in research and promotion activities. 

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that, at the end of the 2005 program, in excess of 7.8 million returns were processed by the EFILE services, a 7% increase over last year’s program.

Management considered EFILE Modernization to be almost complete.  There were, however, some modifications to be made to the EFILE system, such as the redesign of the Online Tracing System.  As a result, there may be a requirement to hold a training session for the EFILE Helpdesk staff either in December 2005 or January 2006.  Management did not anticipate any impacts to the EFILE Helpdesk resources.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As of April 25, 2006, approximately 5.7 million returns were processed by the EFILE services, a 2% increase over last year’s program.

EFILE Modernization is complete.  The Agency suggests that this be the final update on this initiative. 

 5. NATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCURACY LEARNING PROGRAM

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the NQALP had been piloted in seven offices between November 2004 and March 2005.  The NQALP pilot was implemented successfully and received positive feedback from the participating offices. All the participants indicated that they would like NQALP to be officially implemented in the call centres.  Based on the pilot feedback, Management had reviewed the comments and suggestions provided from the field and updated the supporting documents.

Management’s goal was to officially launch NQALP for the 2006 Filing Season.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The NQALP was officially launched on January 16, 2006 for the 2006 Filing Season. NQALP has been successfully implemented in all but one call centre.  The final call centre will implement the program by June 2006. Based on feedback, the NQALP has been well received. Call centre agents were provided with the relevant training and reference materials to assist in implementing the program, this material is now available online. A large number of agents are participating in the voluntary remote quality listening in the Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver call centres. Call centres are required to provide a quarterly report on the number of listening and coaching sessions conducted, the action taken to address the issues identified, as well as the trends and observations.

6. ELECTRONIC BILL PRESENTMENT

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on this Electronic Bill Presentment initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, Management stated that approximately 11 million payments had been received each year, mostly from large financial institutions.  This initiative would assist the small and medium enterprises wanting to use epost.  However, in order to take advantage of this initiative, the Taxpayer must already be paying their bills electronically.  Management anticipated a 2% take-up rate for the first year, and expected most of the savings to be attained through stamps (25¢ per mail out).

The Union asked for clarification on the human resources impacts, as the written update stated they were negligible.  Management clarified that there would be no human resources impacts as a result of this initiative.  They would continue to keep the Union informed of the progress on the Electronic Bill Presentment initiative.

At the meeting of November 7, 2005, the Union was informed that, effective April 11, 2005, the CRA, in partnership with epost, TD Canada Trust and National Bank would offer small/medium employers the opportunity to receive their monthly statement of account via the Internet.  With only two financial institutions currently offering this service, there had been negligible impacts on the current PD7A issuance process or the payment process.  The Agency was currently in discussion with other Canadian Financial Institutions to try and increase the take-up of the E-PD7A.

Until such time as all Canadian Financial Institution’s offered this service or the Agency would be able to do it via the website there would be no human resources impacts.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Two financial institutions (FIs) currently offer the service. There has been no impact on the current PD7A issuance process or the payment process.  From April 11, 2005 to April 11, 2006, only 326 Taxpayers have registered.

Discussions with the other Canadian FIs to try and increase take-up of the E-PD7A anticipated to take place in the fall of 2005 were put off due to migration activities at epost.  All the FIs and billers, including CRA, had to convert their services to the epost protocol for January 1, 2006.  Dates for these talks have not been set.  The FIs have indicated that there is no incentive for them to offer electronic funds transfer for employer payment and the cost to make changes to their systems to accommodate StatsCanada data is prohibitive.  These discussions would also involve the Receiver General’s office.

7. MY ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUALS – TAX AND BENEFITS

(nee. MY ACCOUNT-BENEFIT PAYMENT ONLINE (BPO)/
MY ACCOUNT PHASE II: ELECTRONIC STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the MY ACCOUNT for Individuals – Tax and Benefits initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, Management informed the Union that the MY ACCOUNT service continued to be implemented in two releases per year:

Release

Release date

# of log ins for release *

1

June 16, 2003

83,834

2

October 6, 2003

129,594

3

February 9, 2004

1,988,121

4

November 4, 2004

270,914

5

February 14, 2005

1,874,082

6

October 3, 2005

------

7

February 13, 2006

------

* The number of log ins is calculated for the period of time from the start of one release to the start of the next release.  For example, for release 1 there were 83,834 log ins from June 16, 2003 to October 6, 2003.

As of Release 5, the user needs a Government of Canada epass to access their My Account service and Address Change Online (ACO) is available through My Account.

As of Release 6, clients can see a copy of their current year and 2 prior year income tax returns and see their direct deposit information for their tax refund, GST/HST credit payments, and CCTB payments.

For Release 7, two new transactions will be added to MY Account:

  1. Authorize a representative to act on the client’s behalf in dealing with the CRA
  2. Arrange a pre-authorized payment plan for personal income tax arrears.

IRPPD portion: No impact on human resources is expected from the addition to My Account for Release 6 and 7.

Benefit portion: Changes were not introduced to Benefit Payments Online (BPO) for Release 5.

For Release 6, the functionality of existing BPO features was streamlined and updated to better accommodate future development.  This initiative was largely transparent to the client.  No impacts on human resources were expected from Release 6.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Updated table

Release

Release date

# of log ins for release *

1

June 16, 2003

83,834

2

October 6, 2003

129,594

3

February 9, 2004

1,988,121

4

November 4, 2004

270,914

5

February 14, 2005

1,240,945 revised

6

October 3, 2005

315,958

7A , 7B

January 12, 2006, February 13, 2006

------

8

To be determined**

The number of log ins is calculated for the period of time from the start of one release to the start of the next release.  For example, for release 1 there were 83,834 log ins from June 16, 2003 to October 6, 2003.

**Headquarters is discussing with the Information Technology Branch the move to only one development release of My Account a year.  The date of the release has not yet been decided.

As of  Release 7, taxpayers can see a copy of their carry forward amounts and one new transaction was added to My Account, that is, “Authorize a representative to act on the client’s behalf in dealing with the CRA”.

The implementation of the transaction “Arrange a pre-authorized payment plan for personal income tax arrears” has been delayed and is planned for implementation on July 11, 2006. However, it is not certain at this time if that date will be met.

For Release 8, taxpayers will be able to arrange their direct deposit through My Account. 

IRPPD portion: No impact on human resources is expected from the addition to My Account from Releases 7A, 7B and 8.

Benefit portion: As of the special release 7A on  January 12, 2006, eligible clients can see their Energy Cost Benefit payment.

As of Release 7B, the availability of recently-issued notices were added to BPO for all benefit recipients. 

As a result of the upcoming legislation with regards to the Universal Child Care Benefit, it is expected that the display of the payment information will be added in Release 8.

No impact on human resources are expected from Release 7A, 7B and 8.

8. INTERACTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES (IIS) / SMARTLINKS

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Interactive Information Services (IIS) / Smartlinks initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the Smartlinks initiative continued to be available to users.  Smartlinks had proven to be a very successful Internet performance measurement and improvement tool and continued to provide valuable information to the web developers. 

An additional method of service delivery for Smartlinks called Click-To-Talk had been introduced.  Click-to-Talk offered Taxpayers the option to complete and submit an online request form asking that they be called back. The Taxpayer would be contacted by an Interactive Voice Response system, which simultaneously connected the Taxpayer to an agent.  As the CRA moved forward and continued to improve the web site, it was expected that certain Taxpayer would be more apt to self-serve thereby reducing their reliance on calling an agent. 

There were no plans to incorporate the Smartlinks initiative to other call centres in 2006. Furthermore, Management did not expect any human resources impacts from this initiative.

The Union asked if the implementation of Smartlinks would be limited to specific call centres or if the CRA wanted to install this technology at all call centres.  Management stated that they would like to see Smartlinks incorporated in all call centres.
 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The Smartlinks 1-800 number has been eliminated and replaced by Click-to-Talk (CTT). Since CTT agents are the same agents that answer Business Window (BW) enquiries and the types of enquiries received are very similar, there was no need to maintain a parallel phone service.  BW 1-800 number enquiries have not decreased.  Instead, Taxpayers are coming to BW through the CTT service having already read through much of the applicable material available on the Web site.  As a result, the types of enquiries received are evolving since callers often come with a certain knowledge base. 

CRA does not expect any human resource impacts to result from this initiative.  Call volumes are very minimal when compared to the overall 1-800 BW line.

While agents are already receiving training on the Smartlinks items, feedback received on Smartlinks will be used to improve training, identify areas where more focused coaching is needed, and to make improvements to CRA’s website. 

CRA intends to expand Smartlinks to the Individual (General Enquiries) 1-800 service by the end of 2006.  A gradual start is envisioned with a limited number of Smartlinks on the web site.

9. GOVERNMENT ON LINE (GOL) INCOME VERIFICATION PROJECT

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Government On-Line (GOL) Project, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union was advised that the current number of agencies in production had grown to 13 while 8 other agencies were in testing mode. 

The Union asked Management to explain whether this initiative had any human resources impacts.  Management stated that the Government On-Line Income Verification Project had not experienced any human resources impacts nor had the base budget been reduced.  As a matter of fact, the reduction in the requests for printouts or duplicate notices would allow the agents to spend more time on value added activities such as processing enquiries for the core business lines.

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that, as of October 6, 2005 there were 15 programs in production, and a further seven programs were currently in testing status.  No impacts were expected regarding human resources or on the base budget.

In addition to the written updates, the Union asked for a list of the programs currently in production.  Management agreed to provide the list of the fifteen programs, as well as the seven currently in the testing mode. 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As of May 1, 2006 there are 17 programs in production, and seven programs that have undergone testing but are not yet in production.  There are no human resource impacts for CRA, and no impact on base budgets. The income verification programs are conducted on behalf of client governments.

10. PROCESSING EFFICIENCIES

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Processing Efficiencies initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union asked for clarification regarding “the re-direction of resources to keep other inventories current and have staff participate in various projects initiated by Headquarters”.  It also asked if this initiative would result in any human resources impacts.  Once the information became available, Management would provide the Union with clarification on the redirection of resources, as well as any human resources impacts.

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the processing costs of benefit applications had remained relatively constant since the implementation of the processing efficiencies.  Inventories were current in most Benefit workloads, and the turnaround time had also remained constant.

The only re-direction of resources that occurred had been within the Benefit workflows themselves (i.e. moving staff from one workflow to another within Benefits), on an ad hoc basis. In addition, although some staff participated in Headquarters’ projects from time to time, neither the re-direction of resources nor the participation in Headquarters’ projects had a negative impact on human resources.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

No new efficiencies have been added to the application-processing program since our last update.  The cost of processing applications has remained relatively constant, as has turnaround time, and inventory levels remain current.

There has been no impact on human resources since our last update.

11. MANUAL NOTICE PREPARATION PROGRAM 

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Manual Notice Preparation Program, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Unions were advised of the following:

Phase 1:

  • Phase I had been successful and the workload had been maintained.  All employees were provided with a User Manual.
  • The Detailed Business Requirements and the work order for Phase 2 had been completed with a scheduled implementation date of February 14, 2005.

Phase 2:

  • Included all other verses and forms for the remainder of the workloads (T2000, T1-OVP, T4, T5, etc.). 
  • Testing of the program would be done in Ottawa in early December 2005.
  • The program would be delivered to the field 2 weeks prior to the implementation date of February 2, 2005. 
  • Phase 2 would have no human resources impact.

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was advised that:

  • Phase 2 had been successfully implemented in February 2005 and the workload had been maintained.  All employees were provided with an updated User Manual.
  • Neither phases nor future releases of this new software program had any human resources impacts. 

The ADOBE-Manual Notice Production Program was developed and implemented nationally in the TCs in an effort to keep the preparation of manual notices consistent as the previous equipment used for this task was being phased-out and no longer supported by Information Technology (IT).

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The Manual Notice Preparation Program is now fully operational.  The Agency suggests that this be the final update on this initiative.

12. MICROFILM EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on this initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided on March 14, 2005, Management stated that there would be no human resources impacts as a result of the Microfilm Equipment initiative.  Furthermore, due to budget reallocations, they had been able to purchase imaging equipment for the seven TCs.

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was advised that Phase four of the Remittance Image Archiving and Retrieval (RIAR) project was successfully completed on July 29, 2005.  New equipment has been installed at all tax centres and the microfilm equipment has been moved to Crown Assets.  At this point in time the project has addressed employee concerns about the down time caused by the aging microfilm equipment as well as the health issues relating to the use of chemicals required to develop the microfilm.  The change in technology has also freed up space at the tax centres by eliminating the need for microfilm development labs. 

Phase five of the RIAR project is underway and scheduled to be completed by the end of February 2006.  During this phase of the project we will build on phase four identifying improvements as well as designing software to image the GST/HST payment documents.  When this phase of the RIAR project is implemented training will be provided to the employees but we do not anticipate any other impact on resources.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Phase five was successfully completed as of February 24, 2006.  GST cheques are now imaged at seven Tax Centres (TCs).  New validation rules to improve the MICR reads were also implemented during this phase.

The project team is currently working on centralizing the retrieval of microfilm at the OTC.  The TCs have assumed the additional workload in relation to imaging GST payments; as such, there should be no HR impacts.  We anticipate microfilm retrievals will be minimal, as most source document requests are for payments made in the last year.  All tax payments have been on the new archive system at the OTC since July 2004, and at the TCs since July 2005.

Phase six is currently in development.  Six SEAC 4000 scanners for the Toronto Centre, Montreal and Vancouver Tax Services Offices (TSOs) were purchased and will be installed at these sites.  These TSOs were selected, as they currently use the Kodak microfilm equipment that the TCs employed, in order to endorse and imprint an audit line on their cheques.

13. 2D BAR CODE

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the 2D Bar Code initiative, including any human resource impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, Management informed the Union that, as planned, the introduction of 2D bar codes for the processing of T1 returns had been implemented for Conversion 2005.

All tax centres received the required equipment (readers and PC’s) well in advance of implementation.  IRPPD and ITB personnel visited the tax centres together to provide background information to management and training to all designated employees.  Those employees then became responsible for training the 2D Bar Code Reader Operators in their own centres.  Monitoring visits later in the program confirmed that affected staff quickly adapted to the new technology, and were satisfied with the training offered, as well as the opportunity to utilize the new technology and readily offered constructive feedback to improve the process even further. 

As of October 3, 2005, a total of 1,059,852 returns had been processed with a 2D Bar Code.  The equipment currently in the tax centres varied from 12 to 14 readers depending on each centre’s return population.  The equipment should be sufficient for the coming program where the 2D Bar Code option would be extended to all categories of filers, individuals and tax preparers, for a potential population of 5.5 million returns.

An informal survey of the Tax Centres conducted in October indicated that, on a national basis, 43 determinate individuals were not rehired in the Data Capture area due to the decreased workload in data capture.  Furthermore, two Western centres hired new staff in the DA-CON area, two Atlantic centres rehired all eligible staff (25 were reassigned to other workloads, and two Quebec centres identified 84 rehires as not being called back initially.  However, 16 of the rehires were reassigned to other activities and another 25 were rehired during a second round of hiring.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Phase II implementation has taken place.  Equipment enhancements, system developments, discussions with the tax preparation software community and Tax Centre communications have all transpired and this final aspect of project implementation was launched successfully.  Already we have processed over 1.5 million 2D returns surpassing the entire program total of last year.  The Phase II development extends 2D Bar Codes to computer-generated returns that would otherwise be eligible for NETFILE. 

While we are not in a position to identify the number of rehires that were not called back in relation to this project; we can advise that the financial reductions in the tax centres for the current (06-07) fiscal period represented in FTEs (all determinate positions) are:

St John’s 9.25 Shawinigan 22.44 Surrey 8.06
Winnipeg 18.91 Jonquière 6.95 Sudbury 35.75
  Summerside 7.83  

The feedback from the field at this time is that the reductions in positions (109 FTEs) are accommodated through attrition for most offices and the rehire activity will be similar to that experienced with Phase I. 

14. GST/HST REDESIGN

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the GST/HST Redesign initiative, including any human resource impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was advised that, in October 2006, the GST/HST business line would move to the Agency’s common business platforms and a new system functionality would be introduced.

The high level components/functionalities of the systems had been developed and testing was underway.  Project teams were currently working towards finalizing procedures and developing training materials for the new systems based on workflow process maps.  As well, an analysis was underway to identify impacts on workload and current jobs, resulting from changes in business processes.

Based on analysis completed to date, human resource impacts would largely be felt in the processing and accounting areas; however some other functional areas may also be affected.  Overall, Management estimated that the redesign would generate a yearly increase of FTEs in the TCs since new workloads were being created as a result of improved or new functionalities.  Management also expected a transitional period to adapt to the new systems, to process older workloads and to address potential fall-out of the new systems.  This transitional period would temporarily augment the increased number of FTEs.  Significant changes in resources for the TSOs were not expected, and TSOs employees would continue to perform the same duties while using new and improved systems.  Management did foresee a potential increase in the number of requests for employees dealing with public enquiries shortly after the implementation period.   Existing job descriptions would be used where appropriate and if current jobs did not accurately describe the activities after implementation, new job descriptions would be prepared.

A detailed analysis of human resources impacts and a rolled-out plan for the training would be completed in early 2006.  Management would inform the Union as soon as the analysis was completed. 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The implementation of the redesigned GST/HST systems will be postponed by 6 months from October 2006 to April 2007.  As part of prudent project management, a recent project health check revealed that implementing in October 2006 allows insufficient time for adequate testing to ensure quality and data integrity and would result in a significant risk to the stability of the systems.

Analysis of the new processes has identified new, eliminated, transferred and transitional workloads that will result from the redesign of the GST/HST systems as well as the move to the common platforms.  This exercise has identified the HR impacts by group and level for the TCs and TSOs.  It should be noted that the estimates below are based on the October 2006 implementation.  Revisions to these estimates, based on the new implementation date, will be made shortly and the results communicated to the union.

Based on preliminary review, we estimated an overall increase of 111.26 FTEs for the CR03, CR04 and PM01 levels and a total decrease of 19.2 FTEs at the DACON 2 level (12.3 FTEs in the 1st year of implementation) for the GST/HST returns workloads in the TCs.  We also expect a transitional period to adapt to the new systems, process older workloads and address any potential fall out of the new systems.  This transition period will further augment the increased number of FTEs temporarily.  As the transition period ebbs, staffing levels will stabilize (by 2010/2011).

The DACON 2 level at the TCs is the most affected, however, according to the field offices, there are 95 DACON 2s (67 terms and 28 indeterminate). As a result, we do not anticipate any work force adjustments. In addition, there will be significant increases at the CR03, CR04 and PM01 levels. These increases will present developmental opportunities for the DACONs that may be impacted by the changes. These increases will be distributed as required.

We anticipate a considerable increase in the number of enquiries as a result of the higher volume of notices that will be sent to the taxpayers.  We expect the majority of calls to occur immediately after implementation.  As taxpayers become familiar with the new notices, the number of calls should level off.  We intend to distribute additional resources evenly throughout the three call centres.

While there will be negligible reductions to workloads at the TSOs, we anticipate these decreases will be locally managed through attrition, income averaging, and other mechanisms (averaging 0.3 of an FTE per level per TSO for Audit and even less for Trust Accounts (in 34 TSOs – not in Quebec)).

FTEs Estimates
Based on Oct. 2006 Implementation

Staffing Impacts Rebates
Summerside TC

Staffing Impacts Taxpayer Services
Call Centers

Staffing Impacts TCs

Total

Resource levels stabilized
by fiscal year

by 2008/2009

by 2009/2010

by 2010/2011

DACON 2

-19.20

-19.20

CR02

-1.28

-1.28

CR03

17.57

0.51

22.08

40.16

CR04

10.62

22.68

33.30

PM01

0.25

17.22

66.50

83.97

111.26

PM02

5.10

5.10

MG02

1.88

1.88

Total

28.44

22.83

92.66

143.93

It is recognized that successful training is critical to the overall success of the project.  The Procedures and Training teams are continuing to work towards delivering high quality training products for the users of the new GST systems.  Headquarters experts will be on site prior to implementation to train users and answer any questions.  Headquarters support teams will also be there upon implementation and for transitional periods after implementation to assist with any difficulties and answer questions with respect to the new systems and their use.

The 3rd edition of the GST/HST Redesign newsletter for the employees working on the GST/HST workloads will be issued in the near future.  A copy will be sent to the union as was done in the past.

15. T2 2D BAR CODING

ISSUE

Management will provide the Union with an update on the T2 2D Bar Coding initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the feasibility study into the use of 2D bar coding in the T2 Program had been completed and the results indicated that there were no significant obstacles to implementation of this initiative by the Fall 2006.  The study further identified that it would take some time for tax preparation software to be updated to incorporate bar code functionality.  As a result, Management expected that for the first 6-8 months after implementation the volumes of bar coded T2 returns would be relatively low.  The volume of bar coded returns would increase over the following 12 months as filers upgraded their software.  Full implementation will only take place in fiscal 2008-2009.  It should be noted that 2D bar coding would only be implemented at this time for initially assessed returns.  However, Management would consider the application of bar coding for reassessments as a future development.

In terms of human resource impacts, an analysis would be conducted and the results made available early in 2006.  Management would work closely with Directors, Assistant Directors and Unions in the tax centres to ensure appropriate and timely communication with affected staff and Unions, and to assist those staff in exploring other employment opportunities in the tax centre.

In addition to the written update, the Union asked to be provided with the results of the human resources analysis once it had been completed.  Management agreed.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The 2D Bar Code Project for T2 returns is well underway and is currently at the system development stage.  Implementation remains on schedule for an October 2006 release. 

In terms of human resource impacts, an assessment is underway.  Communication has been initiated with the tax centres to determine the impact this initiative will have on determinate and indeterminate employees.  Management is currently clarifying the initial information obtained from the Tax Centres.

Management will consult with Human Resources Branch and Public Affairs Branch to agree on the next steps in terms of human resource activity and communications to ensure appropriate and timely communication with affected staff and unions.  Any affected staff will be assisted in exploring other employment opportunities within CRA.

16. CHANGE MY RETURN

(nee NETRAP)

ISSUE

Management will provide the Union with an update on the Change My Return initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Unions were informed of the following:

Phase I (2004 – 2005)

  1. Since inception of Phase I in November 2004, just over 17,000 clients had used the Change my return service
  2. All Change my return requests continued to be processed in the Sudbury Tax Centre pending national roll out of Globus/Tributas
  3. No human resources impacts

Phase II (February 2006)

  • With the proposed introduction of Third Party Privilege Management, the client would be able to authorize its representative to access My Account and use the Change My Return service.
  • Management expected some human resources impacts (22 FTEs across 7 TCs) however, employees knowledge/skills would make them transferable to other programs.

More information would be be provided as it became available.

In addition to the written updates, the Union asked for a breakdown of the 22 FTEs impacted between indeterminate and term employees.  Management agreed.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Update

  • Phase II implementation of Third Party Privilege Management was introduced in February 2006.
  • 15,000 taxpayers (including 250 representatives) have used the Change My Return Service from January 1st to April 21st, 2006.

FTE Savings for 2006/07

The FTE savings take effect for the 2006/07 fiscal.  This FTE reduction will only impact term employees.  The skills and knowledge of these employees will easily be transferable to growth programs.

2006/07 FTE Savings

Tax Centre

FTE

Surrey

3.48

Winnipeg

5.50

Sudbury

3.48

Jonquière

1.56

Shawinigan

3.70

Summmerside

1.70

St. John’s

2.30

Total FTE

21.72

17. EXPANDED USE OF BUSINESS NUMBER BY ONTARIO

ISSUE

Management will provide the Union with an update on the Expanded Use of Business Number by Ontario initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Unions were informed that the Business Number (BN) partnerships existed to provide better client service and improved data integrity.

Although Ontario formed part of the Business Registration Online application, it did not use the BN as its business programs account identifier.  In the fall of 2004, discussions had taken place between the province of Ontario and the Agency to implement a formal BN partnership.  This initiative would be similar to projects already undertaken and completed with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and British Columbia.  The province indicated an interest in linking approximately 30 Ontario business programs to CRA’s Business Number.  Further discussions would take place in 2005.  As with previous projects of this nature, the partnership should not have any impact on resources, in fact, workloads would likely be created as a result of the partnership.

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Unions were informed of the following:

  • Discussions with Ontario regarding a BN partnership were underway and a draft Letter of Intent was being considered by CRA and Ontario.
  • Ontario had been coordinating its efforts in determining, the roll out of programs to be linked to the CRA Business Number (BN).
  • High-level project plans and timelines were being discussed at regular intervals to coordinate the respective deliverables and determine the most beneficial timeframe to implement this partnership. 
  • The BN partnership should not have an impact on staffing.  From past experience, the impact from the manual registration workload would be offset by other workloads created as a result of the partnership.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

    • The Letter of Intent with Ontario was signed in April 2006.

    • The Ontario Retail Sales Tax (RST) Program will be the first program to adopt the CRA Business Number (BN). 

    • Project plans and timelines have been discussed to coordinate our respective deliverables for an implementation date of October 2007.

    • The BN partnership should not have an impact on staffing.  From past experience, the impact from the manual registration workload is offset by other workloads created as a result of the partnership.

18. INTEGRATED REVENUE COLLECTIONS (IRC)

ISSUE

Management will provide an update on the Integrated Revenue Collections initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, Management informed the Union on the development of two key initiatives: Data Mining and Business Rules Engine.

Data Mining

  • Management was developing and validating data mining models for predicting risk as part of the Integrated Revenue Collections (IRC) application. The data mining initiative would help in the decision support aspects of the IRC application. Currently the Agency collects and maintains enormous stores of data on its Taxpayers, including accounting, personal and collection information. But the sheer volume of information and the manner in which it was stored made it very difficult to study the data to make determinations of what procedures might yield better results for different Taxpayers and situations. Data mining was an activity that enabled the Agency to apply learning programs to the vast data store, producing useful conclusions about Taxpayers and how best to serve them.  Through a competitive bid process a data-mining tool called Clementine had been selected and a contract had been issued for hiring professional services in this field to assist in the building of data and business models.

  • The data-mining tool is expected to support the decision process to get the right work to the right worker, for better Taxpayer service and recovery. The tool would perform analyses on the data to determine risk factors to recovery, as well as helping to learn which procedures worked best with which Taxpayers in different situations. As a direct product of this work, the data-mining tool would produce statistical support for the decisions made in the future, as well as working models of the data that would be kept for study, or applied directly as part of the applications.

  • The data-mining tool had little direct impact on the workforce. The tool supported program decisions, with an option to include the result as a small component of the overall IRC application. The only impact would be be with the half dozen or so business analyst employees in Headquarters who would be using the tool.  Those indeterminate employees would need to be provided training in the use of the tool and the concepts of data mining.

  • The data-mining tool, Clementine, had been acquired and introductory training had been completed.  Improved data quantity, and access would be beneficial, but would not be an impediment to starting data mining today. Taxation data mining consultants would be hired for mentoring as necessary.

Next Steps:

  • The data mining results would be used to help build better data support systems for improved business processes in the future.

Business Rules Engine

  • Implementing the use of a Business Rules Engine (BRE) as part of the Integrated Revenue Collections (IRC) application.

  • The BRE would be an integral part of the new IRC application.  The main achievement would be externalizing the business rules currently contained in mainframe COBOL code and have them available to the business line to view and change.  Presently, all of the business rules were hard-coded in thousands or millions of lines of COBOL code and are not readily identifiable.  Any desired changes to the information technology (IT) systems were bound to legacy system release cycles.  The BRE would give RCB greater flexibility and a better understanding of how the business would be supported by IT systems.  To achieve this goal, there wwould be a systems interface that would allow a Business Analyst at HQ to update specific rule parameters.

  • The BRE is a system tool that would assist in the processing of accounts.  It should allow greater flexibility in our workload allocation rules.  Using a BRE would enable the users to react quickly to events impacting the business (natural disasters, market changes, etc.), and send more inventories where needed.  The end users would have had no knowledge of it being used other than through flow of accounts into their inventories.  The only direct impact expected would be with the indeterminate Business Analysts located in RCB Headquarters.  The people performing the Business Analyst role would be responsible for analysing business rules, updating the parameters and making the changes to the BRE models.  Any changes to be made to the business rules would need to be thoroughly examined for their impact on workload and system capacities before implementation.  This would be an ongoing activity performed by the Operations Directorate Business Analysts.  The end users would have little knowledge of the change being made other than through the flow of accounts into their inventories.

  • The use of a BRE would have little direct impact on the workforce.  The BRE was only one part of the IRC application, so any impact on the workforce would come from the overall system, not from the use of a BRE.  The only direct impact would be with the 10 or so indeterminate Business Analysts in RCB Headquarters would need the necessary training and understanding of the BRE interfaces and update parameters functionality.

  • The implementation plan would be linked to the overall IRC application.  This would include the development of training modules, and standard operating procedures for the business analysts.

Next Steps:

  • The Client Project Team continued to work with the Information Technology Branch (ITB) on integrating the BRE into the overall IRC solution, and would modeling certain releases once business rules used the BRE.  The project team was also working with other headquarters areas in the development of a rules governance document.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

We would like to inform you on the IRC progress in respect of our commitment to keep Unions informed. We are working on development of two key initiatives: Data Mining and Business Rules Engine.

1. Data Mining

  • We are developing and validating data mining models for predicting risk as part of the Integrated Revenue Collections (IRC) application. The data mining initiative will help us in the decision support aspects of the IRC application. Currently the Agency collects and maintains enormous stores of data on its Taxpayers, including accounting, personal and collection information. But the sheer volume of information and the manner in which we store it makes it very difficult to study the data to make determinations of what procedures might yield better results for different Taxpayers and situations. Data mining is an activity that enables us to apply learning programs to our vast data store, producing useful conclusions about our Taxpayers and how best to serve them.  Through a competitive bid process we have selected a data mining tool called Clementine and have a contract for hiring professional services in this field to assist us in building data and business models.  These consultants and our data miners are working vigorously to develop some preliminary models for testing.

  • The data mining tool is expected to support our decision process to get the right work to the right worker, for better Taxpayer service and recovery. The tool can perform analyses on our data to determine risk factors to recovery, as well as helping us to learn which procedures work best with which Taxpayers in different situations. As a direct product of this work, the data mining tool will produce statistical support for the decisions we make in the future, as well as working models of our data that can be kept for study, or applied directly as part of our applications.

  • The data mining tool will have little direct impact on our workforce. The tool supports program decisions, with an option to include the result as a small component of the overall IRC application. The only impact will be with the dozen or so business analyst and information technology employees in Headquarters who will be using or supporting the tool.  These indeterminate employees will need to be provided training in the use of the tool and the concepts of data mining.

  • The data mining tool, Clementine, has been acquired and two training sessions had been completed. We are constantly increasing our access to data and is working on the data that we can access now to develop the preliminary models. Taxation data mining consultants will be hired for mentoring as necessary.

Next Steps:

  • The data mining results will be used to help us build better decision support systems for improved business processes in the future.

2. Business Rules Engine 

  • The BRE will be an integral part of the new IRC application.  The main achievement will be externalizing the business rules currently contained in mainframe COBOL code and have them available to the business line to view and change.  Presently, all of our business rules are hard-coded in thousands of lines of COBOL code and are not readily identifiable.  Any desired changes to our information technology (IT) systems are bound to legacy system release cycles.  The BRE will give TSDMB  greater flexibility and a better understanding of how our business is being supported by IT systems.  To achieve this goal, there will also be a systems interface that will allow a Business Analyst at HQ to update specific rule parameters.

  • The BRE will allow greater flexibility in our workload allocation rules.  Using a BRE, we can react quickly to events impacting our business (natural disasters, market changes, etc.), send more inventories where needed, add new lines of business, etc.  The end users will have no knowledge of it being used other than through flow of accounts into their inventories.  The people performing the Business Analyst role will be responsible for analysing business rules, updating the parameters and making the changes to the BRE models.  Any changes to be made to the business rules will have to be thoroughly examined for their impact on workload and system capacities before implementation.  This is an ongoing activity that would be performed by the Operations Directorate Business Analysts.  The impact on workload is as described above, the end users will have little knowledge of the change being made other than through the flow of accounts into their inventories.

  • The use of a BRE will have little direct impact on our workforce.  The BRE is only one part of the IRC application, so any impact on our workforce will come from the overall system, not from the use of a BRE.  The only direct impact will be with the 10 or so indeterminate Business Analysts in TSDMB Headquarters who will need the necessary training and understanding of the BRE interfaces and update parameters functionality.

  • The implementation plan will be linked to the overall IRC application.  This will include the development of training modules, and standard operating procedures for the business analysts.

Next Steps:

  • The Client project team is working with our Information Technology Branch (ITB) on integrating the BRE into the overall IRC solution, and modeling certain release once business rules using the BRE.  The first phase is a Proof of Concept to ascertain whether the BRE has the capacity to deliver the functionality required. The Proof of concept is included with the T1 Non-Business Release scheduled for June. Rules concerning identification of work and take action have been developed. Field users will not see any results as this is a component of the infrastructure and serves only as a building block.

  • T1 Integration and NCS collect debt rules will be gathered and catalogued over the next 6 months. From that point it will be determined which rules can be put into the BRE or must be hard coded as they are today.

  • The project team is also working with other headquarters areas in the development of a rules governance document. Work continues as stakeholders are consulted and a document is expected early summer.

19. NON-PROFILE TO PROFILE

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on this Non-Profile to Profile initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the change to have the system assess and reassess one additional year on-line was implemented at conversion 2005. A similar change for conversion 2006 was progressing well and would be implemented in February 2006. As for the next program, the CRA would be able to assess and reassess 9 years online. The plan to have full implementation (12 years online) at conversion 2009 was on track.

Previous reports indicated that there would be a reduction of approximately 13.5 FTEs for the 2005 program across the seven tax centres and the International Tax Services Office (ITSO).  At full implementation, Management expected a reduction of 36.7 FTEs.  Management stated that those estimates continued to be reasonable

The Union asked for a breakdown of these estimates by office. The requested numbers follow:

FTE Savings 2005/2006

Tax Centre

Assessing

Reassessing

Disability

Notices

Total

Surrey

0.55

0.93

0.25

0.61

2.09

Winnipeg

0.45

1.21

0.32

0.62

2.27

Shawinigan

0.37

0.98

0.26

0.51

1.86

Jonquiere

0.14

0.51

0.14

0.23

0.88

Sudbury

0.61

1.49

0.40

0.80

2.89

Summerside

0.11

0.44

0.12

0.20

0.74

St. John's

0.12

0.51

0.14

0.22

0.86

ITSO

0.11

0.12

0.03

0.10

0.34

Totals

2.47

6.18

1.66

3.29

13.60

FTE Savings at full implementation - 2009/2010

Tax Centre

 
Assessing

Reassessing

Disability

Notices

Total

Surrey

1.26

2.68

0.73

1.57

5.50

Winnipeg

1.01

3.47

0.95

1.60

6.08

Shawinigan

0.84

2.81

0.77

1.31

4.96

Jonquiere

0.32

1.46

0.40

0.60

2.37

Sudbury

1.38

4.26

1.17

2.06

7.71

Summerside

0.26

1.25

0.34

0.50

2.01

St. John's

0.28

1.47

0.40

0.58

2.33

ITSO

0.26

0.34

0.09

0.27

0.87

Totals

5.6

17.74

4.87

8.49

36.70

Management stated that the review of other returns that would require manual intervention continued but no major system changes were expected for the 2006 program.  There would be no FTE reductions other than the ones shown above.

The Union appreciated the extensive detail provided in the charts on FTE savings, however, receiving a “before and after” snapshot of the number of employees (indeterminate, term, part-time, etc.), would be more beneficial as UTE was interested in the individual rather than the financial aspect.  Management agreed to provide the Union with specific data on the number of employees involved in this initiative.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The change to have the system assess and reassess one additional year on-line, bringing the total number of years that the Agency is able to assess/reassess on-line to nine (9), was successfully implemented at conversion 2006. 

The change to add an additional year on-line at conversion 2007 is progressing well. 

FTE reductions expected in the 2006/2007 fiscal year are broken down by Taxation Centre, the International Tax Services Office and workflow in the chart attached below.  No further FTE reductions related to this initiative, other than those shown below, are foreseen.

At full implementation, a reduction of 36.70 FTEs, the amount previously reported, is expected.



FTE Savings 2006/2007

Tax Centre

Assessing

Reassessing

Disability

Notices

Total

Surrey

0.29

0.64

0.18

0.37

1.30

Winnipeg

0.23

0.83

0.23

0.38

1.44

Shawinigan

0.19

0.67

0.18

0.31

1.17

Jonquiere

0.07

0.35

0.10

0.14

0.56

Sudbury

0.32

1.01

0.28

0.49

1.82

Summerside

0.06

0.30

0.08

0.12

0.48

St. John's

0.07

0.35

0.10

0.14

0.55

ITSO

0.06

0.08

0.02

0.06

0.21

Totals

1.3

4.22

1.16

2.0

8.68

20. SHUTDOWN OF THE AUTOMATED GENERAL LEDGER (AGL)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Shutdown of the Automated General Ledger initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the AGL system was closed to further regular postings and modifications as of April 15, 2005.  The system continued to accept postings of an adjusting or closing nature until March 31, 2006, however, nofurther postings would be authorized beyond that date. The AGL would remain open for view access only until March 2010.

All required shutdown changes would be completed by the various source systems by May 30, 2005. 

Phase II of the AGL shutdown to be completed in March 2005 involved introduction of the Open Item Management (OIM) concept to the field offices.  OIM was accomplished with the use of an automated reconciliation tool (Matching Tool) within the RL.  The responsibility of OIM in the RL was equivalent to that of the suspense accounts in the GL.  Those accounts provided an internal control over the work in progress thus ensuring that the transactions had been completed.  The business processes followed by the staff remained essentially the same, only the tools used had changed.

Management did not foresee a reduction in field budgets, although some processes had been automated as a result of the shutdown, but the additional keying requirements would offset any potential savings.

Early indications suggested that staff had adapted to the new system and the additional OIM work had been accommodated.  Management was planning to roll out additional OIM account responsibilities to the field during the next fiscal.  As the task of clearing required less manual intervention, the movement of additional accounts would not result in a need for increased budget allocations.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The AGL Shutdown project has been successfully concluded.  As of March 31st, 2006, the AGL System is available for viewing historical entries only.  The project was delivered as scheduled with minimal direct or indirect implications on the Ledger and associated programs.  H.Q. monitoring over the past year would suggest field staff have been very receptive to the Revenue Ledger system.

There are no planned changes or modifications to the program and, as such, it is recommended that consideration be given to remove this initiative from future updates.

21. EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE AUDIT REPORTING TOOL (ECART)

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the Taxpayers Services And Debt Management Branch (TSDMB) has developed an Excel based program that would assist Employer Compliance Auditors (ECA) in calculating taxable benefits and reporting their audit findings in a more consistent and uniform manner. 

The Employer Compliance Audit Program had been transferred from the Compliance Programs Branch to the TSDMB in 2001, albeit without adequate employee training or job aids, and as a result, created inconsistencies in reporting audit findings.  In the meantime, most ECAs had developed their own worksheets to calculate benefits and the applicable CPP and EI premiums due but those worksheets varied significantly from auditor to auditor, as did the auditors’ working papers.  The reporting could not be integrated into the existing trust examination system software and it would take several years to develop and design an appropriate tool.  Therefore, an interim solution would involve the development of the Employer Compliance Audit Reporting Tool (ECART) for an Excel-based environment.  This program would be able to accurately calculate taxable benefits, reduce report-writing time, prepare and print T4 and T4A slips while at the same time providing a format for consistent production reporting.  Furthermore, trainers would receive a full week of training to aid in both the learning and the distribution of the programs.

The use of this tool would not affect the auditors’ mandate or work description; nor was it expected to create any human resources impacts.  An internal communication strategy would be developed to inform employees that the implementation of this tool would result in higher quality audits and working papers, as well as eliminate manual production reporting.  Management anticipated that the deployment of ECART would take place in April 2006. 

The Union asked if any consultation had been conducted on this initiative.  Management stated that dozens of ECAs had been consulted on its design and participated in the testing.  Furthermore, ECAs had been using their laptops as a job aid to conduct their work.  The ECART reporting tool would bring them on par with their counterparts in Compliance Programs Branch and RCB Trust Examiners.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The development of the Employer Compliance Audit Reporting Tool (ECART) has been completed and given to Examination Taxable Benefit Section (ETBS) for distribution to the users.

Training of this tool (ECART) is scheduled to commence on May 1, 2006.

22. END USER APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT MACRO RELEASES

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the End User Application Development Macro Releases initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch developed a series of macro applications to more effectively assist employees by eliminating the clerical aspect of information gathering and routine processing.  A macro was a series of instructions designed to simplify repetitive tasks within a program such as Microsoft Word or Excel.  The macros were created by simply “recording” keystrokes for playback at a later time, or by manually programming the instructions for the computer to follow.  The creation, and subsequent use, of macros continued to expand since desktop computers became a commonplace tool within the Agency. 

The national process was now established to allow for the standardized use of macros.  Moreover, the distribution model for those macros and a support structure in place for end users would allow approved macros to be released on a national scale.  In addition to the macros currently being used in the field, a number of other macros are at various planning and developmental stages.  Those planned tools would include the client view macros that would be deployed as part of the integrated Revenue Collections project’s first release. 

The use of macros would not be mandatory nor would the release of those macros result in any human resources impacts, significant changes in employment status, or working conditions.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Macros continue to be developed to support TSDM programs and the IRC Project. Macro-based Taxpayer (Client) Views are planned for deployment as an interim solution for a Graphical User Interface (GUI) end-user application until the Enterprise Work Management System is implemented as the longer-term solution for the realization of the IRC Vision and Goals.

The T1 Client View macro will be deployed June 5th to the T1 A/R Pool sites that will be working the IRC tagged workload. Over the next several months, we will be determining if we can viably distribute, maintain and support macro-based client views to be used nationally.

If so, development and deployment would depend on a number of factors including the priorities of the business, where we can best support the IRC long term objectives, and of course development time.

23. DISABILITY TAX MEASURES INITIATIVE (DTMI)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Disability Tax Measures initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that, in the February 2003 budget, the federal government announced the establishment of the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities.  The Committee’s mandate involved making recommendations that would help the federal government improve the fairness of the treatment of persons with disabilities under the income tax system, taking into account available financial resources.  Since most of the recommendations had a direct impact on processing Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate (DTC), the Disability Tax Measures initiative project team was established to implement the legislative and administrative recommendations.  As a result of the proposed legislative changes, Management expected to see an increase in the DTC applications for the 2006-2007 fiscal year.  Consequently, an additional 25 FTEs would be required to administer the program.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

For fiscal period 2006-2007, in anticipation of an additional 34,000 Disability Tax Credit applications resulting from legislative changes, a total of 24.4 fully funded FTEs were added to Tax Centre budgets.

This figure was based on the percentage of population and funding allocations per Tax Centre.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • St. John’s - 3.03
  • Summerside  - 2.26
  • Jonquière  - 2.01
  • Shawinigan - 3.76
  • Sudbury - 4.17
  • ITSO - 0.24
  • Winnipeg  - 5.06
  • Surrey  - 3.91

24. CALL CENTRE UPGRADED TECHNOLOGY

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Call Centre Upgraded Technology initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that the National Collections Call Centre (NCCC) was no longer able to meet the needs of its ever-expanding workload, in particular, specific deficiencies existed in the eight year old dialer technology that was limiting the ability to increase operating efficiency while providing a continuous level of service to clients.  At the same time, scheduling, forecasting, and tracking, along with adherence to schedule and performance management had become time consuming.  Consequently, the reports generated from the current technologies were fragmented and did not provide real-time and historical reporting capabilities.  As a result, a decision had been made to purchase new technology to replace the aging equipment in the NCCC that would allow a “blended” inbound/outbound-calling environment with greater capacity to add work, generate additional revenue, and improve service to clients.

The most significant changes for the agents would prove to be in the screen presentations and call routing where work would be automated and set to a priority listing rather than manual instructions to change work through traffic controller emails.  In order for a smooth transition, a three-hour training session for agents and managers would take place within a one-month period before cutover, and include follow-up training up to three months after cutover.  The complete technology equipment upgrade for the NCCC was scheduled for December 12, 2005, while the workforce management efficiencies would be contracted before the end of this fiscal year

The Union was pleased to learn that the training would be conducted on a timely basis before the implementation of the technology.  It wanted to know if the technology would have any impact on the agents.  Management stated that the agents already used telephony equipment and the related software to conduct their work.  The upgraded technology would only enhance the employee-working environment, as well as improve the level of service to Taxpayers.  Furthermore, there was some potential to hire additional agents due to the new technology and the increase in workload.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The new technology is installed and working in the call centre. The Agency continues to work with the vendor and Corporate Telephony to ensure that we maximise the use of the new technology. The new technology has provided the ability to add more agents in accordance with the available budget.  Furthermore, as in any new system involving technology, there were a series of issues and system 'bugs' that needed to be worked out.  The majority has now been resolved.

This initiative is now completed and we request that it now be removed from the next meeting's agenda

25. PRE-AUTHORIZED PAYMENT PLAN ON INTERNET

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Pre-Authorized Payment Plan on Internet initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that, in the fall of 2001, the CRA introduced a pre-authorized payment plan (PADS) for personal income tax (T1) arrears, requiring clients to complete, sign and return the paper T1226 form to the Agency, for processing and approval.  This would allow individuals to access the PADS plan option via “My Account” on the CRA Internet website.  As part of the process, the Taxpayer would need to register online for Government of Canada EPASS in order to meet the enhanced security and protection of confidential Taxpayer information.  Once Taxpayers obtained their CRA activation code they would be able to visit “My Account” and electronically arrange their personal income tax arrears, 21 hours / 7 days a week.

This was considered a high priority initiative, and Management expected it to be an option in “My Account” for an April 2006 production release.  This initiative would also promote and support the Agency’s involvement in the ongoing Government Online (GOL) process, as well as the sustainable development initiative, through the reduction of paper.  Management did not anticipate any human resources impacts as a result of this initiative.

The Union asked whether the parameters of the computers had been considered during the implementation of this initiative.  Management stated that the parameters of the computers were the same at the local level; therefore they did not anticipate any issues with the equipment.  The Union also wanted to know what types of payment plans would be acceptable to the CRA.  Management stated that if a Taxpayer owed $5000 or less, a payment plan of up to a maximum of 12 months would be acceptable to the Agency.  However, for a payment of $5000 to $100,000, a payment plan of up to 8 months would be established. 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Production for this initiative will be delayed until the July 10, 2006 release date.

My Account conducted usability testing with market researchers in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Montreal during the month of March.  Discussions regarding post usability testing changes are underway.  The iPADs application is now fully into User Acceptance (UA) testing. All areas of My Account are exploring marketing activities.

26. Post-Dated Cheque (PDC) Redesign

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on the Post-Dated Cheque Redesign initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that, in performing its remittance-processing program, the CRA annually processed over 34-million payments.  The CRA was one of the few organizations that processed such large quantities of payments while making minimal use of technology.  One of the ways to modernize and streamline the payment processing operation was to implement the “microfilm equipment replacement” initiative with image archival equipment in all the taxation centres to accommodate the volume of payments processed at the Ottawa Technology Centre (OTC).  The equipment purchased had more capacity than the 25% currently being used and given the capability of the software to process post-dated cheques it was determined that post-dated cheques would present an ideal pilot for extending equipment usage. 

The Post-Dated Cheque Redesign initiative would be piloted at the OTC for new PDCs received at the beginning of April 2006.  If the pilot was successful, existing PDCs would be converted to the Banctec solution in late summer 2006.  Prior to implementation, Revenue Processing staff at the OTC would receive training on keying data from an image, as well as on changes to the FIP system.

It was premature to predict the human resources impacts at this stage, as the data would be contingent on the performance and success of the project.  Management anticipated minimal reductions at the TCs, however they would provide the Union with the data once the pilot had been completed.  Management also mentioned that budgets would not be impacted until 2007-08.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The pilot was implemented during the first week of April 2006.  In order to monitor and assess the performance of the solution, the implementation has been controlled with a pre-determined volume input per day.  As a result, the net impact on resources continues to be finalized.  We expect to be in a position to report impacts by June 30, 2006.

Field budgets for 2006/07 were not impacted.
 

27. THIRD PARTY PRIVILEGED MANAGEMENT

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the November 7, 2005 meeting, the Union was informed that, the Assessment and Client Services Branch was currently working on a new electronic service for third parties to be launched in February 2006, called represent a client.  This new initiative would provide authorized representatives with secure and controlled online access to clients’ tax information.  To ensure the success of this initiative, the project was being developed and launched in two phases and possibly a third one down the road.  Phase I would extend the authentication services to authorized third party representatives to enable access to their clients’ individual tax information.  An authorized representative would have online access to most services available to individuals under My Account.  Furthermore, the online service channel had been developed for seamless integration while at the same time complementing the paper and telephone service delivery avenues.  Representatives would then be expected to register online for this service, where they would obtain a representative identifier (REPID) to provide to their clients, and their clients would need to authorize them either through the My Account portal or using a revised T1013, authorizing or cancelling a representative form.  The calls concerning this new service would be handled by e-services helpdesk.

During Phase II, the emphasis would be on improving services to clients, as well as extending the authentication, registration, and authorization solutions to business programs.  Phase II was tentatively scheduled for an October 2007 release.

Management did not anticipate a significant take-up rate in the immediate term based on the last two years.  As with other recent GOL service introductions, this initiative would be “soft launched” insofar as human resource issues were concerned.  The project team would monitor the take-up rates and assess the impact as the initiative moved forward.  Management expected the human resources impact analysis to be completed by December 2005, and would share the results with the Union.

The Union asked if the security system was strong enough to prevent situations of fraud from occurring.  Management stated that only the client has access, and that not all fraud could be prevented, appropriate security measures had been put in place.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The Represent a client secure online service was launched as expected on February 13, 2006.  In fiscal year 2005/06, we anticipated minor impacts on HR as only seven weeks, from February 13 to March 31, 2006 were covered.

There are two main work areas affected by this new service:

  1. Taxpayer Services Directorate

    • e-service Helpdesk agents

    • individuals income tax enquiries

    • businesses and self-employed individuals enquiries

    • counter agents

  2. Benefits Programs Directorate
     
    • T1 Specialty Services agents

There is little impact on others such as:

  1. Electronic and Print Media Directorate
    • Electronic print services agents

The introduction of this new online service will not result in any major HR impact for the first year of service.  Several areas of field operations will be monitored closely to better evaluate the impact of this service. A detailed HR impact analysis will be conducted after a full year of operation.