Technological Change Committee

Sub-Committee Meeting Written Updates

November 2005

1. WAREHOUSE RATIONALIZATION PROJECT (WRP)
2. AUTHENTICATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (AMS)
3. NETFILE
4. EFILE ON-LINE
5. MATCHING REDESIGN
6. NATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCURACY LEARNING PROGRAM
7. ELECTRONIC BILL PRESENTMENT
8. MY ACCOUNT FOR INDIVIDUALS – TAX AND BENEFITS
9. INTERACTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES (IIS) / SMARTLINKS
10. GOVERNMENT ON LINE (GOL) INCOME VERIFICATION PROJECT
11. PROCESSING EFFICIENCIES
12. MANUAL NOTICE PREPARATION PROGRAM
13. MICROFILM EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT
14. 2D BAR CODE
15. GST/HST REDESIGN
16. T2 2D BAR CODING
17. CHANGE MY RETURN
18. EXPANDED USE OF BUSINESS NUMBER BY ONTARIO
19. INTEGRATED REVENUE COLLECTIONS (IRC)
20. NON-PROFILE TO PROFILE
21. SHUTDOWN OF THE AUTOMATED GENERAL LEDGER (AGL)


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.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The carousels were implemented in early July as planned. We will be using the period between now and April 2006 to fully test the impact of carousels on forms distribution at the Eastern Distribution Centre (Mississauga).

We do anticipate 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 will be declared affected due to carousel implementation.

2. AUTHENTICATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (AMS)

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, the Union was informed that work was continuing on the development of the Common Registration Service (CRS) under Secure Channel.  The intent was to deploy My Account (which includes Address Changes Online) to CRS by early 2005.  Calls concerning Secure Channel would continue to be sent to the Helpdesk.  As well, the information technology representatives within CRA are working with Secure Channel to improve client accessibility to the System.  It is anticipated that improvements in this area would resolve many of the current client complaints.

In addition to the written update at the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union asked whether the AMS initiative would result in any human resources impacts.  Management stated that no human resources impacts were anticipated for AMS.

MANAGEMENT WRITTEN RESPONSE

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 government.

CRA’s continues to work with PWGSC to further improve the service and additional significant improvements have been scheduled for implementation in releases 7.0 and 7.5 to the Secure Channel Releases scheduled for 2006.  We are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure long-term ease of access for our clients.

Secure Channel is working to increase their browser support.  Since Quarter 1, Macintosh Safari is now supported.  Release 7.X (Spring 2006) will address some of the other issues.

The implementation of those improvements will resolve many of the current client complaints.

No human resources impacts are anticipated for AMS.

3. NETFILE

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, the Union was informed that the NETFILE Helpdesk was being structured to accommodate the demands of the program.  In addition, the helpdesk had been merged with others to form a consolidated e-services helpdesk.  This provided more on-line functionality, such as the ability to retrieve a web access code.  The e-services helpdesk would be moving to Winnipeg in early May 2004, with a back-up helpdesk opening in St-John's in early 2005.  There were no planned reductions to the NETFILE component of the e-services helpdesk.

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. 

MANAGEMENTS WRITTEN RESPONSE

For the 2005 program, approximately 3.5 million returns were filed using NETFILE software, which represents a 16% increase from the previous year.  Again, we do not expect any reductions in human resources for the e-services helpdesks.

4. EFILE ON-LINE
(nee: EFILE INTERNET)

ISSUE

The Union will request an update on this 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 years 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 will not be attending training sessions in Ottawa this program.  There are no planned reductions to the EFILE Helpdesk resources.

The Agency will continue to market and promote EFILE ON-LINE to third party tax practitioners.  In fact, additional resources would be provided to the EFILE Helpdesks during the summer of 2004 to participate in research and promotion activities. 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

At the end of the 2005 program, in excess of 7.8 million returns were processed by our EFILE services, a 7% increase over last year’s program.

We can consider EFILE Modernization to be almost complete.  There are, however, some modifications to be made to the EFILE system, such as the redesign of the Online Tracing System.  These modifications may require a need to hold a training session for the EFILE Helpdesk staff either in December 2005 or January 2006.  We do not anticipate any impacts to our EFILE Helpdesk resources.

We are still pursuing the marketing and promotion of 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 will be very limited.

5. MATCHING REDESIGN

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, the Union was informed that the Matching Action Review System (MARS) went into production on November 13, 2003. Some implementation difficulties were encountered and they are being addressed on an ongoing basis.  Headquarters staff visited every tax center after the implementation to meet with the users of MARS.

MARS will remain available for use until April 30, 2004.  The system for the 2004/05 Matching program is scheduled to be available on September 20, 2004. 

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, Management stated that the 2004/05 versions of MARS would be made available to all tax centres on September 20, 2004.  Human resource levels would increase for the current program, and funding would be sought to complete a Matching program on T3 slip reporting.  The possibility of adding new workloads for upcoming programs would also be examined. 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

MARS is now fully operational. 

During the 2004-2005 fiscal year, additional one year funding was obtained that increased the matching budget by approximately 25 per cent.  That allowed the Agency to review a significant number of T3 slips and to increase overall coverage.

For the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the Agency again obtained single year funding to substantially increase the matching budget.  This funding intended for:

    • A review of T3 slips,
    • A new RRSP contribution slip workload, and
    • A review of 2002 tax year discrepancies. 

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

6. NATIONAL QUALITY AND ACCURACY LEARNING PROGRAM

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, the UTE noted their appreciation for the opportunity to review the draft guidelines for the NQALP prior to the meeting.  The Union did not provide comments other than the fact that the draft guidelines had been well thought out and proven to be user-friendly.

Further to the NQALP documents provided to the Union on April 21, 2004, we provided the Union on November 24, 2004, with an updated manual, consent form, checklist and reporting template for the program, as well as the following supporting items:

  • Certified Listener / Observer Training Module
  • Introduction to Giving and Receiving Feedback (Powerpoint)
  • Agent Orientation (PowerPoint)
  • NQALP Training Profile
  • Certified Listener / Observer Feedback Form

The complete set of documents was sent to all Call Centres on November 4, 2004 for review.

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union expressed appreciation for the continued exchange of information and ongoing dialogue in between the Technological Change meetings.  This initiative continued to be an excellent example of union-management working together.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

We piloted the NQALP in seven offices between November 2004 and March 2005. The NQALP pilot was implemented successfully and received positive feedback from the participating offices. The participants all indicated that they would like NQALP to be officially implemented in the call centres. Based on the pilot feedback, we have reviewed the comments and suggestions provided from the field and updated the supporting documents.

Our goal is to officially launch NQALP for the 2006 Filing Season.

7. ELECTRONIC BILL PRESENTMENT 

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, the Union was informed that a contract had been signed in January with the only bidder being, BCE Emergis, to offer the service to the clients who bank at CIBC, TD Canada Trust, Royal, Nova Scotia, National Bank and Caisse Centrale Desjardins.  Development work was underway with a planned implementation date of July 2004.

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, Management stated that approximately 11 million payments were 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 client 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 impacts as a result of this initiative.  They would continue to keep the Union informed of the progress on the Electronic Bill Presentment.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Effective April 11, 2005 CRA, in partnership with epost, TD Canada Trust and National Bank began offering small/medium employers the ability to receive their monthly statement of account via the Internet.

With only two financial institutions currently offering the service, there has been negligible impact on the current PD7A issuance process or the payment process.
Discussions with the other Canadian Financial Institutions to try and increase take-up of the E-PD7A are currently active.

Until such time as all Canadian FI’s offer the service or the Agency provides it via it’s website there will be no HR impact.

8. 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 this initiative, including any human resources impacts.

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, the Union was informed that the My Account service continued to be implemented in phases.  The initial release was on June 16, 2003.  There were 83,834 successful logons from the initial to the second release on October 6.  For Phase II, the period of October 6, 2003 to February 5, 2004, the number of successful logons was 129,594.  A third release was implemented on February 9, 2004.

Management is thinking of moving the Address Change Online (ACO) to My Account, until such time as Common Registration Service (CRS), (version 6.1) was available. 

IRPPD portion: No impact on human resources was expected from the addition to My Account of more detailed financial information from the current year assessment.

Benefit portion:  Since February 9, 2004, clients can now see on My Account/Benefit Payment Online their Benefit Electronic Statement of Account (ESA).  As the description stated previously, the Benefit ESA helps the client understanding the accounting and financial transactions that occurred on his/her benefit account for a specific period.

For the March 19, 2004 CCTB payment issuance, the Child Disability Benefit (CDB) would be added to the CCTB calculation where applicable and would be displayed to the CCTB screen on My Account/BPO where applicable.

Management did not expect any HR impacts on either Benefit additions.

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union stated that the English version of the written update did not match the French.  Management agreed to amend the document and provide an updated copy to the Union.  Management also confirmed that there would be no human resources impacts as a result of this initiative.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The My Account service continues 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 impact on human resources is expected from release

9. INTERACTIVE INFORMATION SERVICES (IIS) / SMARTLINKS 

ISSUE

 The Union will request an update on this initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2005 meeting, management explained that there is no longer a separate Interactive Information Service (IIS) on the website for clients to access directly.  Significant new content has been added to the CRA website in a revised organization and the content from the IIS system has been integrated into this redesign.  The use of the decision tree to allow clients to “get to yes or no” answers remained in much of the content presentation on the Web.

A Smartlink pilot was initiated in February 2004.  Clients using the website were provided with a link into a team of call centre agents in Edmonton and Calgary.  The agents who handled these calls are presented with the same web page as the client, reducing the time it takes to reply to client’s questions, and use the web as their primary reference tool.  They also use the opportunity to get additional information from the client using web-survey tools on how the client was using the site and what changes or additions could have been made to avoid the necessity to call in future when using the site and improve the level and quality of service.

Smartlinks agents have handled 4694 calls to date.

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the following information was provided:

Client Services portion: The Smartlinks initiative remains available to users and continues to provide valuable information to web developers.  The pilot to test the technology and the usefulness of the Web as an agent tool will continue to mid 2005.

Benefit portion: There is no longer a database driven Benefit Interactive Information Service (IIS) system since July 22, 2004 on the Child and Family Benefit website. All IIS content was converted into HTML coding and resides under the same link on the CFB website therefore transparent to our clients.  Since IIS delivers the same content (decision tree format) through a different mechanism, management does not see any HR impact.

The Benefits portion of the Interactive Information Services (IIS) and Smartlinks would be removed from future updates.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The Smartlinks initiative continues to be available to users.  Smartlinks has proven to be a very successful Internet performance measurement and improvement tool and continues to provide valuable information to our web developers. 

We have introduced an additional method of service delivery for Smartlinks called Click-To-Talk.  Click-to-Talk offers clients the option to complete and submit an online request form asking that they be called back. The client is contacted by an Interactive Voice Response system, which simultaneously connects the client to an agent.  As we move forward and continue to improve our web site, it is expected that certain clients will be more apt to self-serve thereby reducing their reliance on calling our agents. 

In addition, there are plans to incorporate the Smartlinks to other call centres in 2006.

 Management did not expect any HR impacts from this initiative.

10. GOVERNMENT ON LINE (GOL) INCOME VERIFICATION PROJECT

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, there had been no new developments in this initiative except that, as of mid-March 2004, the number of participating programs in either production or testing has grown to 14, out of the targeted number of 15 to 20.

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. 

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.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As of October 6, 2005 there are 15 programs in production, and a further seven programs are currently in testing status.  There have been no impacts on human resources or on the base budget.

11. PROCESSING EFFICIENCIES

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, Management explained that as expected, the introduction of the new measures had reduced the number of referrals from the routine workflow (CR3 level) to the non-routine workflow (CR4 level).  The processing costs of benefit applications had also been reduced.  Inventories appeared to be current in most Benefit workloads, and the turnaround time had been shortened.

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”.  They also asked if this initiative would result in any human resources impacts.  Once the information was available, Management would provide the Union with clarification on the redirection of resources, as well as any human resources impacts.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The processing costs of benefit applications have remained relatively constant since the implementation of the processing efficiencies.  Inventories are current in most Benefit workloads, and the turnaround time has also remained constant.

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

12. MANUAL NOTICE PREPARATION PROGRAM

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, Management stated that the Phase 1 implementation had delayed until March 15, 2004.  The delay was mostly due to additional security steps that had to be included in our solution.

The testing of the new manual notice system had been done at the International Tax Services Office pilot site during the last 2 weeks of February followed by the certification process in early March. Employees in the field are currently being trained and the Phase 2 discussions were scheduled to start in mid April.

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

Phase 1:

  • Phase I was 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 was completed and the scheduled implementation date was February 14, 2005.

Phase 2:

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

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

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

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). 

13. MICROFILM EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the May 10, 2004 meeting, Management stated that Phases one and two (Proof of Concept and Pilot at the OTC) were completed last fiscal year and phase three (OTC Production) started April 1, 2004.  During phase three, implementation of the system/process changes at the OTC started on July 15, 2004 ending on September 17, 2004.  Staff from the OTC collaborated with the project team and used the new technology during phase two of the project.  Much of the training required to work with the equipment was provided last fiscal year. 

It was anticipated that the implementation of the new imaging technology would address concerns raised by staff on the current state of the microfilm equipment as well as the use of chemicals.  Replacing the current microfilm equipment would no longer impact on resources.

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.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

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.

14. 2D BAR CODE

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided on March 14, 2005, the Union stated that numerous questions had been received members regarding human resources impacts.  The Union specifically asked to be provided with before and after data of the number of employees located in the work sites.  Management stated that a detailed analysis had been done; however, it could not be discussed until after the Federal Budget announcement.  The information required additional validation, and once the data was confirmed, the Union would be provided with the details. 

The Unions expressed concern that this initiative appeared to affect some of the TCs more than others.  Management replied that up until now, some of the TCs had less electronic filing to handle, however the impacts should stabilize.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As planned, the introduction of 2D bar codes for the processing of T1 returns was 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 designated employees.  These 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, 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 were processed with a 2D bar code.  The equipment currently in the tax centres varies from 12 to 14 readers depending on each centre’s return population.  This equipment should be sufficient for the coming program where the 2D bar code option will be extended to all categories of filers, individuals as well as tax preparers, for a potential population of 5.5 million returns.

An informal survey of the Tax Centres conducted in October indicates that, on a national basis, 43 determinate individuals were not rehired in the Data Capture area due to decreased workload in data capture:

  • The two Western centres in fact hired new staff in the DA CON workload.
  • The two Atlantic centres rehired all eligible staff (note 25 were reassigned to other workloads).
  • The two Quebec centres identified 84 rehires as not being called back initially.  16 were reassigned to other activities and 25 were rehired in a second round of hiring. 

15. GST/HST REDESIGN

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

In addition to the written update provided at the March 14, 2005 meeting, Management explained that this initiative would move GST processing from the current system to the business lead up system.  The intent was not to change the processing but to provide a new tool. 

The Union asked if human resources impacts had been considered prior to moving forward to develop the technology.  Management explained that once procedures for the new systems were finalized, workloads would be reviewed to determine the impacts, if any, on the current jobs.  However, the main focus would be on the training, skills and work descriptions rather than redundancy or reductions.

The Union asked if the 58.2 FTEs had been included in the budget cuts.  Management was not aware if all numbers had been included. 

Management stated that the Province of Ontario was interested in having the federal government collect corporate tax for Ontario, and although many details would need to be worked out, the additional work given to the Agency could far outweigh some of the human resources impacts contained in the Federal Budget announcement.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

In October 2006, the GST/HST business line will move onto the Agency’s common business platforms and new system functionality will be introduced.

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

Based on analysis completed to date, human resource impacts will largely be felt in the processing and accounting areas; however some other functional areas may also be affected.  Overall, we estimate that the redesign will generate a yearly increase of FTEs in the TCs since new workloads are being created as a result of improved or new functionalities.  We also expect 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 will further augment the increased number of FTEs temporarily.  At this time, we do not expect any significant changes in resources for the TSOs.  TSOs employees will continue to perform the same duties and will use new and improved systems.  However, we foresee a potential increase in the number of requests for employees dealing with public enquiries shortly after the implementation period. As for job descriptions, we will use existing descriptions where appropriate such as the ones used by the T2 business line (e.g. for the SA workloads).  If current jobs do not describe the activities that will be in place after implementation new job descriptions will be prepared following the appropriate procedures.

Detailed analysis of impacts on human resources and a rolled-out plan for the training will be completed in early 2006.  We will inform the Union as soon as this analysis is complete. 

16. T2 2D BAR CODING

ISSUE

Management will provide the Union with an update on the T2 2D Bar Coding initiative.

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Unions were informed that in November 2004, a feasibility study on the use of 2D Bar Coding in the T2 program for the data capture of corporation returns had been launched.  An analysis would be conducted to determine whether, and to what extent, 2D Bar Coding could be used in a corporation return-processing environment.  If feasible, implementation could begin in the Fall 2006.

Although electronic filing was gaining popularity for corporation returns, 1.4 million returns continued to be filed on paper.

Corporate returns were more complex and involved a significantly larger volume of data than the T1 returns.  If proven practical, 2D Bar Coding could significantly reduce the processing costs; especially in the data capture area.  Management did not anticipate any changes to the system until the Fall 2006; however, the Unions would be kept informed on the progress of this initiative.

The Union asked whether a human resources impact analysis would be conducted at the same time as the feasibility study, or if the initiative would be implemented first.  It expressed concern for the employees keying in the returns.  Management replied that the human resources analysis would be done prior to the implementation of the technology.  Furthermore, the impact on employees would depend on how extensively the technology was used.  Management went on to state that because the move toward electronic filing would be gradual, employees had ample time to develop new skills for other positions in the TC.  Directors in the field would work with employees and Unions to explore training opportunities. 

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The feasibility study into the use of 2D bar coding in the T2 Program has been completed and the results indicate that there are no significant obstacles to implementation of this initiative in 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, it is expected that for the first 6-8 months after implementation in the Fall 2006, the volumes of bar coded T2 returns will be relatively low.  The volume of bar coded returns will increase over the following 12 months as filers upgrade their software and full implementation will only take place in fiscal 2008-2009.  It should be noted that 2D bar coding will only be implemented at this time for initially assessed returns.  We will consider the application of bar coding for reassessments as a future development.

In terms of human resource impacts, an analysis will be conducted and the results will be available early in 2006.  Management will 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.

17. 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 March 14, 2005 meeting, Management stated that Change My Return had been designed to support the Government On-Line initiative, and CRA’s commitment towards using more on-line services.  This option also significantly improved client services, reduced costs for both the client and the CRA, as well as supported sustainable development.

The Change My Return initiative would be rolled out in two phases, beginning with Phase I in November 2004 and targeting individual Canadian clients.  It would accommodate most changes currently requested by phone or mail with some exceptions.  All electronic requests for the first six months reviewed manually, after which, next steps would be determined.  There would be ongoing consultation with the TC Management and staff.  Furthermore, there would be no human resources impacts expected in the first Phase.

The proposed plan for Phase II involves the conceptual and planning phase while allowing third parties with client authorization to request changes.  Management stated that human resources impacts could be up to twenty-two FTEs across the seven Tax Centres; however, employees having the knowledge/skills could transfer to other programs.  Management would continue to keep the Union informed as information becomes available.

The Union asked for the number of requests for changes that were made on the manual returns.  Management replied that, information was limited at this time.  However, Management agreed to provide the Union with more detailed information on the numbers of clients using the Change My Return initiative once more data became available.

The Union also asked for detailed information on the number of employees and FTE’s (terms and indeterminate) impacted as a result of this initiative.  Management would endeavour to provide the Union with a more accurate employee count. 

In response to the Union’s concern that this initiative would reduce the client’s use of the counter, Management stated that an electronic access survey would be conducted at the counters to determine why individuals continued to come to into the office if they had access to the Internet.  Management would share the survey results with the Unions.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

Phase I (2004 – 2005)

    1. Since inception of Phase I in November 2004, just over 17,000 clients have 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. There has been no human resource impact

Phase II (February 2006)

  • With the proposed introduction of Third Party Privilege Management, client will be able to authorize their representative to access My Account and use the Change My Return service on their behalf.
  • HR impact expected to be 22 FTEs across the 7 Tax Centres; employees knowledge/skills make them transferable to other programs.

More information to be provided as it becomes available.

18. 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, 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 forms 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 took 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.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

  • Discussions with Ontario regarding a BN partnership are underway and a draft Letter of Intent is being considered by CRA and Ontario at this time.
  • Ontario has been coordinating their efforts in determining, at a high level, the roll out of programs to be linked to the CRA Business Number (BN). 
  • High-level project plans and timelines are being discussed at regular intervals to coordinate our 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 is offset by other workloads created as a result of the partnership.

19. INTEGRATED REVENUE COLLECTIONS (IRC)

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union was briefed on the Integrated Revenue Collections (IRC) initiative, which would address Revenue Collections medium and
long-term needs.  The business transformation has been driven by a number of key factors such as the continued growth of accounts receivable.  Revenue Collections needed to implement new collection and compliance strategies to effectively manage the entire spectrum of taxpayer debt.  In addition, Revenue Collections had to meet increasing pressures within a diminishing resources base, as funding for specific initiatives sunsets. 

Management anticipated the gradual rollout of the IRC to take place in 2006.  Joint working teams would be established to work in conjunction with ITB and other business owners.

The IRC is at the very early stages of development, with current activities focusing on analysis and identification of indicators of risk and program effectiveness.  Consultation would continue throughout 2005, and the implementation of improved tools and systems was expected to take place in incremental steps over the next two fiscal years. 

Employees would receive training and information on changes to the current work processes and systems support.

Management did not foresee any job losses as a result of this initiative, nor should there be any impacts on work descriptions.  An internal communication and human resources strategy, as well as a plan would be developed, and put in place to support the transition.  Management would continue to keep the Unions informed on this initiative.

The Union asked who would be given the responsibility of gathering the client information.  Management replied that a team of experts would be assembled, such as an examiner, a collector, and a non-filer working together to put together a complete picture of the client.

The Union agreed that, given the information provided, it would be premature to discuss human resource impacts.  However, they appreciated Management’s commitment to keeping the Unions informed on this initiative.

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.

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 clients, 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 clients and situations. Data mining is an activity that enables us to apply learning programs to our vast data store, producing useful conclusions about our clients 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.
     
  • The data mining tool is expected to support our decision process to get the right work to the right worker, for better client 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 clients 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 half dozen or so business analyst employees in Headquarters who will be using 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 introductory training has been completed. Improved data quantity, and access would be beneficial, but is not an impediment to starting data mining today, on the data we can access. 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 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 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 or millions 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 RCB 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 is a system tool that will assist in the processing of accounts.  It should 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 only direct impact is expected to be with the indeterminate Business Analysts located in RCB Headquarters.  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 RCB 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 project team is also working with other headquarters areas in the development of a rules governance document.

20. NON-PROFILE TO PROFILE

ISSUE

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

BACKGROUND

At the March 14, 2005 meeting, the Union was advised that approximately 560,000 initial assessments required some type of clerical review prior to being processed, ranging from as little as addressing additional memo fields to a complete manual assessment of the tax return.  The goal of the Non-Profile to Profile project would be to reduce the number of returns requiring manual intervention prior to being entered into the system for processing.

The Agency currently maintained enough data and systems logic to re-assess up to seven years online.  Any tax year that is prior to those years must be assessed manually.  In addition, the notice of assessment must also be produced manually.  Therefore, in February 2005, the CRA implemented the Additional Years On-line.  This involved accumulating one additional year of data and logic, until twelve years had been stored.  Management expected full implementation to take five years, at which time the Agency would be in a position to assess an additional 26,000 assessments online, and approximately 31,000 additional reassessments on-line.

For the 2005 Tax Program, Management expected a reduction of about 13.5 FTE’s across the seven tax centres.  After 5 additional years had been brought on-line, Management expected an impact of 36.7 FTEs.  The Union asked for a breakdown of FTE’s by TC, and reiterated the need to provide more detailed information on human resource impacts.  Management agreed to do so. 

Management expected that all returns requiring manual intervention would be reviewed to determine if other system changes could be introduced to either reduce or eliminate the need to manually assess returns.  Some of the returns to be reviewed included, Bankruptcies; Over-sized fields; Returns of First Nations Peoples; Returns of deceased clients, as well as some multiple jurisdictional returns.

The Union asked whether work descriptions would need to be revised.  Management did not foresee changes to the work descriptions.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

As previously reported, 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 is progressing well and will be implemented in February 2006. As of next program the CRA will be able to assess and reassess 9 years online. The plan to have full implementation (12 years online) at conversion 2009 is 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 expects a reduction of 36.7 FTEs.  Management stated that these estimates continue to be reasonable and little deviation is expected for the year.

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 require manual intervention is continuing but no major system changes are expected for the 2006 program and, as such, there will be no FTE reductions other than the ones shown above.

21. 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 March 14, 2005 meeting, the Unions were advised that the Automated General Ledger (AGL) system currently provided parallel processing with the Revenue Ledger (RL) system for the tax programs.  Following recommendations from the OAG, a proposal was approved to shutdown the AGL in order to reduce administrative burden, improve business processes, and move to a single general ledger (GL) platform for all CRA Business Lines.

Nationally, approximately twenty clerical staff (CR-03/CR-04) worked with the AGL and the RL systems.  With the shutdown of the AGL, information from various documents would be keyed directly to the RL system instead of being keyed in the AGL first and subsequently passed to the RL.  Employees keying information onto the system would continue to be responsible for clearing suspense accounts in the RL instead of the GL. 

Phase I began several months ago and was completed at the end of February. 
Management had received positive feedback from the participants.  Phase II would begin
at the end of March, in Ottawa.

The AGL would be phased out over the next 4 to 6 months as the transition was linked to implementation dates for the different revenue lines; however, employees would continue to perform the same duties.  Resource impacts were not expected.

MANAGEMENT’S WRITTEN RESPONSE

The AGL system was closed to further regular postings and modifications as of April 15, 2005.  The system will however accept postings of an adjusting or closing nature until March 31, 2006.  No further postings will be authorized beyond that point in time.  The AGL however will remain open for view access only until March 2010.

All required shutdown changes were completed by the various source systems by May 30, 2005.  These changes included such things as, changing the accounts number from a four-digit general ledger account number to a five-digit revenue ledger account number etc.

Phase II of the AGL shutdown, completed in March, involved introducing the concept of Open Item Management (OIM) to the field offices.  OIM is accomplished with the use of an automated reconciliation tool (Matching Tool) within the RL.  The responsibility of OIM in the RL is equivalent to that of the suspense accounts in the GL.  These accounts provide an internal control over the work in progress.  Therefore ensuring that the transactions have been completed.  The business processes followed by the staff remain essentially the same; only the tools used have changed.

We do not foresee a reduction in field budgets.  Although some processes have been automated as a result of the shutdown, additional keying requirements have offset any potential savings.

Early indications would suggest staff have adapted to the new system and additional OIM work can be accommodated.  We are currently planning to roll out additional OIM account responsibilities to the field during the next fiscal.  As the task of clearing requires less manual intervention, the movement of additional accounts will not result in a need for increased budget allocations.