ARCHIVED - Canada Revenue Agency 2007-2008

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 Report Card 2007–2008
Canada Revenue Agency

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data

Rating

Management (15%)

(a) An accountability framework, an action plan and accountability mechanisms are in place (5%)

Since the beginning of the 2006–2007 fiscal year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a well established official languages accountability framework. This framework, which has been approved by the Commissioner, defines the roles and responsibilities of various key stakeholders, including the Commissioner, the assistant commissioners, the Champions, the regional coordinators and the OL Division, managers and employees. It also sets out the manner in which the obligations under parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act) are to be carried out. The OL Division and the National OL Champions Committee are responsible for coordination mechanisms.

Senior management continues to provide ongoing support for the 2005–2008 OL Action Plan. This plan includes objectives for OL Program management and parts IV, V and VI, as well as related timelines and required action. The Action Plan is submitted once a year to the Board of Management and the Management Committee for updating. Furthermore, during the past year, the OL Division made detailed information sheets available to managers to help them implement each of the steps identified in the Action Plan.

In order to better understand the overall OL situation at CRA, the Champions Committee holds a round-table discussion every six months, during which managers are asked to provide an update to their colleagues on the status of the implementation of the Action Plan in their respective region or directorates. In addition, the National OL Champions Committee meets quarterly and members discuss, among other things, the status of the implementation of the Action Plan.

Every year, each directorate and regional office is required to prepare an OL plan in which they incorporate the objectives of the 2005–2008 Action Plan.

In the Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch, the OL Committee has the mandate of developing the annual action plan. The Chair reports regularly to the OL Champion of the Branch, who in turn advises the assistant commissioner about strategic OL issues.

OL objectives are part of the performance agreements of the senior management group. Also, OL objectives appear in the performance evaluations of many employees required to provide services to the public .

Official languages are part of the five disciplines assessed annually in accordance with the HR monitoring framework.

A

(b) Visibility of official languages in the organization (5%)

The CRA has implemented an integrated planning process. This performance measure framework, which includes OL objectives, enables the Agency to remain focused on its business objectives and on related achievement measures. The section dealing with workforce adjustments includes seven criteria, one of which addresses the impact on OL.

In its Corporate Business Plan for 2006-2007 to 2008-2009, CRA commits to the development and implementation of a new three-year OL Action Plan, offering quality services to clients and creating a workforce that is representative of Canada's population. The 2007–2008 Report on Plans and Priorities also refers to enhancing services offered to Canadians. Although the 2006–2007 to 2008–2010 Performance Report does not explicitly refer to OL, it indicates that the CRA has continued to work towards delivering high quality services to the public. 

On May 28, 2007, CRA announced a new initiative to enhance CRA’s accountability to Canadians, in the form of a taxpayer’s charter of rights that defines the Agency’s commitment to service to the public. The second section of this charter provides that taxpayers are entitled to receiving services in both official languages.

When the Internal Audit Unit established its 2007–2010 Audit Plan, it assessed potential risks related to official languages and determined that auditing of language training would be part of the 2007–2010 Activity Plan. Moreover, before each audit is undertaken, the OL issue is examined and if it appears to indicate a high risk, it will be part of the audit. In 2006–2007, the “official languages” component was part of two audits.

The CRA Human Resources Management Framework, which was developed in 2007, contains a centralized information source about HR management and it incorporates OL.

The Agency's Management Committee (AMC) regularly discusses OL issues. For example, in March 2007, AMC discussed and approved the directive on language training; in May and July, OL were raised in discussions on the succession plan and the performance evaluation of senior managers. In January 2008, the AMC discussed language training funding and non-imperative staffing.

The National Champion is the Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Directorate and is a member of the AMC. In addition, the Ontario Region Assistant Commissioner is the National Language of Work Champion, and is also a member of the AMC.

The National Champions Committee, composed of a national champion, the Language of Work and Service to the Public Champion, and champions from the directorates and regions, convenes every four months. Also, once a year, the regional and headquarters official languages coordinators are invited to participate in one of the meetings. The OL Division keeps in close contact with the network of Champions and coordinators throughout the year and keeps them informed of any new OL development. The Agency Commissioner participated in the most recent meeting of the Champions and consultants, which took place on February 4, 2008.

The official languages component is part of discussions on succession at the EC level (EX equivalent).

A

(c) Complaints and follow-up (5%)

CRA uses the informal complaint resolution process, which respects the employer OL obligations and employee rights. Under this approach, the manager of the sector involved is responsible for trying to settle complaints directly with his or her employees and finding corrective measures. This means complaints can be resolved quickly in an educational and harmonious atmosphere. The mandate of the OL Division is to provide advice and tools if necessary. Employees may also avail themselves of OCOL’s formal complaints process.

The draft of a co-operation agreement between CRA and OCOL identifies the mechanism for dealing with and resolving complaints.

A quarterly report of complaints filed with OCOL is sent to OL champions and advisors for information and follow-up purposes, to prevent the reoccurrence of similar problems. This report also helps identify trends and shortcomings.

B

Subtotal:

A

Service to the public—Part IV (25%)

(a) Bilingual services advertised to the public and sufficient bilingual staff (3%)
 

The CRA informs the public and official language minority communities (OLMCs) of its bilingual points of service by publishing them in Burolis. In most cases, toll-free numbers offering services in English and those offering services in French are published separately in telephone directories.

Clients' official language of choice for correspondence is noted each year in their Income Tax and Benefit Return. CRA’s bilingual web site makes it possible for clients to navigate and communicate with the Agency in the official language of their choice.

A total of 83% of employees in bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position. (Source: Annual Review on Official Languages, March 31, 2007).

B

(b) Observations on active offer and service delivery (15%)

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active visual offer was present in 98% of cases; an active offer by staff was made in 28% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 74% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 100% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 97% of cases.

C

(c) Service agreements delivered by third parties or in partnership provide for the delivery of bilingual services (2%)

Subsection 4, Chapter 2, Section 2 of the CRA's Material Management Manual provides information regarding the OL obligations for contracting. Clauses are included in third-party service agreements to specify suppliers' linguistic obligations.

The mandate of CRA is such that it very seldom uses third parties to deliver its services. Whenever it does, service quality monitoring for services provided in both official languages is done annually by a team from Headquarters Non-Tax Collections. This branch does business with ten private collection agencies that are required to provide services in both official languages. When audits find discrepancies, for example relative to active offer and communication in both OL, the collection agency must present CRA with an action plan to correct the situation within thirty days.

B

(d) Policy on service to the public and bilingual services quality monitoring (5%)

CRA does not have its own policy on communications with the public and service delivery. Instead it uses the CPSA policy that is made available to all employees in the Employee Corner directory of the InfoZone site. This site also includes the 2005–2008 Action Plan and various supporting fact sheets, which serve as guidelines. This initiative has helped make all personnel aware of the institution's commitment in respecting the equality of both OLs.

On May 28, 2007, the institution implemented a taxpayer’s charter of rights that sets out the Agency’s commitment to service to the public. The second section of this charter provides that taxpayers are entitled to receive services in both official languages.

Employees are reminded by Headquarters or regional OL coordinators how to offer and deliver services in both OL. For example, in the Quebec region, directors sent emails and pamphlets to all employees to remind them of the importance of making an active offer of services in both OL.

At directors’ request, surveys on the quality of correspondence and voicemail messages are done periodically. Moreover, the Taxpayers Services and Debt Management Branch sent a reminder to all call centre employees about bilingual telephone service.

A pamphlet on in-person service and service on the telephone, as well as on bilingual telephone messages and automatic email replies, is available to all personnel on the InfoZone site. The Atlantic Region also produced a series of “pocket translators” on various topics.

In order to verify the availability and quality of services to the public offered in the official language of the minority, the CRA uses the reports and annual action plans submitted by directorates and regional offices that contain information on service delivery to the public. Other measures also ensure the quality of bilingual services. For example, the Ontario region initiated a day of discussions with regional labour unions about OL; it invited a regional representative from OCOL as well as the Director of the OL Division. The presentation by the Director of OL mainly dealt with the OL responsibilities of the CRA and active service offer. Since then, the region has developed objectives in this respect; they are included in the performance agreements of managers, bilingual employees and employees directly serving the public. These objectives and the list of positions directly serving the public were subsequently communicated to the unions.

The CRA survey on the external environment indicated that 98% of respondents were satisfied with services offered in their official language of choice.

The Human Resources Directorate Management Committee approved a monitoring framework to evaluate human resources results, including aspects related to the OL Program. A pilot project was carried out in February 2007 in the Pacific Region. The items in the Program that were evaluated were active offer in person and on the telephone as well as delivery of services in French. Results were very positive. Another evaluation, including the same official languages items, took place in the Atlantic Region in November 2007. Results will be available during the next few months. The next monitoring exercise will take place in the Quebec Region in May 2008.

The Quebec Region conducted an exhaustive analysis of all its bilingual positions in order to ensure there is no gap between the number of positions in place and the number of positions required to offer services in both OL, while taking into account the career development of employees. The analysis has indicated that the number of bilingual positions in the region was sufficient to meet operational needs and requirements for service to clients in both OL.

The Ontario Region also reviewed its positions to determine whether or not the number of bilingual positions was sufficient to offer services in both official languages.

A

Subtotal:

B

Language of work—Part V (25%)

(a) Language of work policy and adequate bilingual supervision (12.5%)

CRA does not have its own policy on language of work. Instead it uses the CPSA policy that is made available to all employees in the Employee Corner directory of the InfoZone site. This site also includes the 2005–2008 Action Plan and various supporting fact sheets, which serve as guidelines and provide information on the designation of bilingual regions, language of supervision, language of meetings, workplace-related training and language training.

In regions designated bilingual for language of work purposes, the CRA has implemented various measures to promote the use of the official language of the minority in the workplace. For example, the Corporate Strategies and Business Development Branch developed a policy describing the rights and responsibilities of employees and managers. It also sets out the steps to be taken by management team members to ensure that unilingual employees and managers have the opportunity to develop their ability to work and manage in their second official language, in a strategic and timely fashion.

The OL Division distributed the pamphlet Language of Work through the Employee Corner directory of the InfoZone site to invite employees to use their official language of choice at work. Copies were distributed to all OL regional coordinators.

Furthermore, the Taxpayers Services and Debt Management Branch set up a local committee, at which each of its divisions is represented. The Committee's mandate is to prepare and implement the Branch's annual OL Action Plan, and to develop strategies that contribute to the promotion of a bilingual workplace. To date, the Branch has published three “Did you know… feature stories on various subjects, in order to promote the use of both OL. The most recent bulletins deal with voicemail messages in both OL and holding efficient bilingual meetings. Employees can now access an interactive game called Wordplay through which they discover current expressions in English and French.

In November 2005, the Agency’s Management Committee authorized the annual transfer of a million dollars from the Educational Assistance Program to the OL Division to help pay for costs of language training for 2006–2007 and 2007–2008. In November 2007, the AMC Human Resources Committee approved the continuation for an indeterminate period of the allocation of this sum to language training.

Most CRA regions and many directorates have official languages committees that discuss OL issues and promote the Program. An increasing number of regions and directorates have performance expectations for their managers that contain language of work components, such as supervision in both official languages. The Ontario region adopted a directive that specifies all of the OL elements that must be included in performance agreements.

The CRA recently concluded an agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Revenue (OMR) regarding the transfer of activities and personnel. OL were taken into consideration and are a part of the memorandum of agreement.

In order to ensure better management of language training, the OL Division concluded a nationwide contract with a private sector teaching company to provide language training at the CRA. This contract covers all of the Agency’s needs.

The OL Division developed a new directive on language training that takes into account the specific environment of the CRA and helps managers make decisions on the language training of their employees.

CRA invested in purchasing a corporate license for the software For the Love of English and Pour l’amour du français. These tools are now available to all employees, no matter where they work, so that they can learn the second language at the time, in the place and at the pace that suits them.

For the first time in September 2007, CRA set up a learning week including one day that was dedicated to OL. Under this initiative, nearly 400 managers participated in workshops dealing with different training options offered to them that make it possible to properly support the career goals of their employees, especially a workshop entitled My Language Training Day. Following these workshops, the use of the Pour l’amour du français and For the Love of English software doubled.

Fiscal services offices in Prince George and Burnaby‑Fraser (B.C.), Saint John (N.B.) and Montérégie-Rive-Sud (QC) paired up employees working in different offices but in the same sector of work and at the same language level. The objective is to create possible discussions in the second language dealing with work issues, which would help acquire and improve work-related vocabulary.

A total of 87% of supervisors in bilingual regions who must supervise employees in both OL are able to do so. (Source: Annual Review on Official Languages, Corporate Administrative System, March 31, 2007).

B

(b) Use of each official language in the workplace (12.5%)

The Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Directorate, who is also the OL Champion, reminds managers of their OL obligations as required. For example, when the OCOL Report Card was sent out in May 2007, the Assistant Commissioner reminded members of the AMC of the importance of their OL obligations, especially with regard to language of work. In January 2008, she issued a reminder memo to members of the AMC concerning language of work responsibilities.

Employees are reminded to use their official language of choice in the workplace through the Employee Corner of the InfoZone site. Also, the OL Division distributed a reminder to all managers and employees concerning their rights in the matter of language of work.

Management Committee meetings are conducted in both OL and documents distributed at these meetings are prepared in both OL.

The CRA has mechanisms in place to monitor the application of the Policy on Language of Work. For example, it uses the results of the language of work survey to better target its activities. In addition, the Agency uses a virtual mailbox on its intranet site where employees can report good practices or shortcomings in the use of the official language of the minority in the workplace.

The CRA also uses the annual reports and plans submitted by the directorates and regional offices, which contain information on the use of the official language of the minority in the workplace. The Public Affairs Branch commissioned a private research firm to assess employees' satisfaction with various Branch products and services, including services in their preferred official language. Findings indicated that 80% of employees reported that Branch services were delivered in their official language of choice.

In order to ensure increased use of both OL and leadership on OL within the Agency, the Executive Personnel Programs Directorate undertook a review of the status of the second language results of its EC personnel (equivalent EX). It then requested the responsible assistant commissioners to develop an action plan for each senior executive whose second language evaluation results were no longer valid.

In 2007, the OL Division invested extra resources in order to ensure a follow-up on use and quality of language training within the Agency. It also launched, jointly with the regions, the update and correction of data on OL in its CAS (Corporate Administrative System) automated data system.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL showed that overall, 64% of Francophone respondents in the National Capital Region (NCR), New Brunswick and in bilingual regions of Ontario "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime. In Quebec, 70% of Anglophone respondents "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime.

C

Subtotal:

B

Equitable participationPart VI (10%)

(a) Percentage of Francophone participation throughout Canada (5%)

Overall, the workforce is 25.1% Francophone. (Source: Corporate Administrative System, March 31, 2007).

A

(b) Percentage of Anglophone participation in Quebec (5%)

In Quebec, the workforce is 6.8% Anglophone. (Source: Corporate Administrative System, March 31, 2007).

C

Subtotal:

B

Development of official language minority communities and promotion of linguistic duality—Part VII (25%)
 

 

The CRA has permanent mechanisms in place to ensure that strategic planning and policy and program development take into account the obligation to foster the development of OLMCs and promotion of linguistic duality. For example, directors of the sectors involved as well as OL champions review Memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions to ensure that the institution takes this obligation, as well as the impact on OLMCs, into account. The “Considerations and Perspectives” section of the template used to prepare these documents includes OL issues. The process used by directorates and regions to prepare the Annual Review submitted to CPSA also helps take this obligation into account. Furthermore, the CRA has a Guide on Implementing Part VII of the Act for managers since April 1998. It was updated in February 2006 to include the amendments to the Act.

On February 22, 2006, the Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Branch sent Management Committee members a memo to inform them of the amendments to the Act. She also sent an email to the AMC in June 2007, in order to inform the members about the guide developed by Canadian Heritage to support federal institutions in implementing Part VII. Furthermore, managers have access to the InfoZone site on Outreach in the CRA. This site provides tools as well as information applying to outreach activities with OLMCs.

The Visibility Program ensures the Agency’s presence regarding official languages within communities. For example, the Voluntary Disclosures Program reaches members of minority communities. Presentations on various aspects of the income tax program are given to associations or chambers of commerce. Each branch and region is represented on the CRA Visibility Committee; the OL Division acts as a representative of the Human Resources Branch.

The National Committee of OL Champions consists of a national champion, a champion for services to the public and language of work and a champion from each of the regions and directorates. Regional champions and regional OL advisors are largely responsible for liaising with OLMCs. They have identified themselves to OLMCs and advocacy associations, such as the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada and the Quebec Community Groups Network. The managers of certain offices also maintain contact with OLMCs.

CRA managers and OL advisors also attended the Atlantic Symposium on Part VII of the Act and the meeting on Northern Francophone community issues, two events organized by Canadian Heritage. On September 28, 2006, Canadian Heritage also presented the Federal Strategy to Support Official Language Minority Communities and the Impact of the New Sections under S-3 to CRA's National OL Champions Committee.

The CRA fosters awareness among its employees about its role in developing OLMCs and promoting linguistic duality by posting the Guide on Implementing Part VII of the Act on its InfoZone intranet site which includes a list of the main OL minority associations at the national and provincial levels.

A memo was also sent to employees in the winter of 2006 to inform them of the new obligations specified under the Act. Obligations related to Part VII are often discussed during Champion meetings. These were also emphasized in presentations given to regional management teams in Ontario and in the Atlantic Region.

The Agency also points out that one of their employees is part of the Canadian Heritage committee on Part VII and he informs the members of the AMC and the OL Champions about any recent developments in this area.

CRA has not begun reviewing different programs and policies to determine which ones are likely to have an impact on OLMCs and the promotion of equal status for English and French. However, CRA has begun developing the 2008–2011 Action Plan for Part VII in order to review its activities and promote development of OLMCs. This action plan is expected to be approved by the end of the fiscal year.

The Agency has implemented many positive measures to promote the development of OLMCs. For example, the Quebec region implemented an action plan to increase the number of Anglophone employees in its offices. In order to do so, it is intensifying its recruitment efforts at Quebec’s Anglophone universities, where it has student ambassadors on-site.

Under its community awareness program, the Vancouver tax services office has offered a session in French on pay cheque deductions to a group of novice Francophone businesswomen at the request of a Francophone economic development association.

The Estrie-Mauricie tax services office participates in Townshipper’s Day to consolidate ties with Anglophone communities and promote the Agency as an attractive employer. Finally, the Winnipeg fiscal centre receives various Francophone groups and associations twice a month for a lunchtime presentation to discuss the services they offer. These activities are an interesting way of understanding the community, its needs and the support which CRA can provide it.

 

(a) Development of official language minority communities (12.5%)

 

Senior management discussions have been held on how to take into account the needs of OLMCs when changes are contemplated. Specifically, managers responsible for establishing call centres were informed that they had to take into account language requirements related to service to the public, language of work, and OLMC development. The Agency also has distributed a guide to implementing Part VII, which serves as a reference tool and sets out procedures for quality services, communications, consultations, partnerships, key strategic documents, accountability and formal coordination. Furthermore, CRA will include its achievements related to Part VII in the Annual Review it submits to CPSA.

A CRA regional OL coordinator is a member of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario. The CRA will also participate in round tables organized by Canadian Heritage.

CRA has begun preparing an action plan for promoting the development of OLMCs in the regions. It will be incorporated into its 2008–2011 action plan for renewal of OL. The plan should be approved by the end of the current fiscal year.

A

(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)

 

CRA has begun preparing an action plan to promote linguistic duality. It will also include its accomplishments regarding Part VII in the Annual Review it submits to CPSA.

The Quebec Region regional Champion developed a presentation on Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act, including language of work, which he gave to managers and union representatives all over the region in order to make them more aware of OL. The Ontario Region Champion and the Director of the OL Division gave the regional management team a presentation on OL that included the history of OL and language of work.

Several initiatives were implemented to promote the equal status and use of English and French within the institution and throughout Canadian society. For example, the designated bilingual personnel at the Kitchener-Waterloo fiscal services office, with the help of the local Official Languages Committee, held a lunch event for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Apart from promoting the French language, the event promoted the culture, history and contributions of French Canadians in Canada.

In the Calgary tax services office, the bilingual bulletin entitled “La francofolie albertaine” is distributed to bilingual employees in order to help them retain their knowledge of their second language. Also, the bulletin includes information on current activities in the Francophone communities of Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and the surrounding area.

The tax services offices of St. Catharines and Laval maintain their linguistic alliance enabling their bilingual employees, or those in the process of becoming bilingual, to have scheduled telephone conversations. Each week, employees with the same duties and levels of linguistic knowledge converse alternately in English and French. On a quarterly basis, participants report to their supervisors about their progress as well as the contents of their weekly thirty minute discussions. This initiative makes it possible for employees of both participating offices to not only maintain but also improve their level of knowledge of their second language.

A

Subtotal:

A

OVERALL RATING

B