Canada Revenue Agency

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most of the provinces and territories. It also administers various social and economic benefit and incentive programs delivered through the tax system.

In 2012-13, CRA received 3,137 new requests during the reporting period, an increase of 40.3% compared to 2011-12 (2,237 requests). CRA was also the third ranked institutions in terms of requests received in 2012-13, representing 5.4% of all requests received government-wide. Despite receiving more requests and processing a larger volume of pages, CRA’s performance in 2012-13 is similar to that of the previous year, except for improvements to the number of requests closed within 30 days. Overall, its performance was below government-wide levels on a number of indicators.

CRA completed 82% of all requests in its inventory in 2012-13, which is similar to the completion rate achieved in the previous year (82.2%). The average time to complete a request was 64 days.Footnote 1

The majority of requests received came from the public (71%). CRA also noted in its annual report that about 23% of the requests received in 2012-13 came from 5 requesters, with one requester representing about 12% of requests.

Table 1: Workload

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Number of requests received 2,237 3,137 40.23%
Number of consultations received (from other government institutions) 54 83 53.70%
Average number of pages processed per request closed 413 433 20
% of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed 6.9% 6.91% 0.01%
Note: The average number of pages processed per request closed and the percentage of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed are calculated from the total of requests completed for which the information was disclosed (in part or totally), exempted/excluded and for requests abandoned. It excludes requests completed for the following dispositions: no records exist, requests transferred and requests treated informally.

CRA is one of the institutions that processed the most pages in 2012-13:1.2 million pages (an increase of 20% as compared to 2011-12). This represents an average of 433 pages per request closed.Footnote 2 A large percentage of the pages processed were disclosed (86.3 %).

Timeliness

CRA responded to 1,496 requests within 30 days or less, which represents about 49% of all requests completed. While this rate is below the government-wide percentage, it represents an improvement for CRA from the previous reporting period. CRA also closed fewer requests in more than 120 days (from 689 in 2011-12 to 369 in 2012-13).

Additionally, CRA improved significantly its proportion of requests completed past the statutory deadline this reporting period, from 32% in 2011-12 to 15% in 2012-13. The proportion achieved represents a “C” grade.Footnote 3 CRA noted in its annual report that this was mostly “achieved by eliminating its backlog of access requests in 2011-12.” Workload was identified as the principal reason why requests were closed late.

Extensions

Each year, the OIC receives notices regarding the use of extensions for more than 30 days and compiles this information in order to generate statistics. In 2012-13, the OIC received 479 notices of extension from CRA, which represented a total of 479 separate extensions.

CRA took a total of 1,387 extensions to close the 3,083 requests completed in 2012-13. More than half of the extensions taken in 2012-13 were for less than 30 days (60%).

Almost all extensions (98.6%) were taken under section 9(1)(a) (interference with operations).

Disclosure

Of the 3,083 requests completed, 14% were disclosed entirely, which is comparable to the previous year.

Table 2: Performance

Measures Reporting Period 2011-12 Reporting Period 2012-13 Difference
Completion of Requests
Completion rate 82.20% 82.90% 0.70%
Completion Time
% of requests closed within 30 days 33.95% 48.52% 14.57%
% of requests closed past statutory deadline 32.39% 14.53% -17.86%
% of consultations from government institution closed within 30 days 50.00% 41.43% -8.57%
% of extensions of 30 days or less 49.57% 59.48% 9.91%
Level of Disclosure
% of pages processed that were disclosed 74.42% 86.26% 11.84%
% of requests closed for which the information was disclosed entirely 13.98% 14.04% 0.06%
Note: The completion rate represents the number of requests completed divided by the total number of requests on hand, which includes the new requests received and the requests carried over from the previous reporting period.

Complaints

OIC received a total of 336 complaints against CRA in 2012-13, which represents an increase of 3.7% as compared to 2011-12. CRA was the most complained about institution during the review period.

The proportion of administrative complaints went up from 13.3% in 2011-12 to 28.6% in 2012-13 (from 43 administrative complaints to 96).

Of those received in 2012-13, 31% were discontinued, 33% were well-founded and 21.7% are still pending as of May 2014. A smaller proportion of complaints (9%) were not well-founded.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Based on response to parliamentary written question Q-485.

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Footnote 2

While 52% of the requests closed required processing less than 100 pages, almost 7% of them required processing more than 1,000 pages.

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Footnote 3

The 2007-08 OIC report card grading system was used to estimate the grade: A=0 to 5%, B= 5 to 10%, C=10 to 15%, D=15% to 20%, F=more than 20%.

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