Canada Revenue Agency Tax season starts after a busy year

2020 celebrated millions of daily cyber calls and attacks and emergency program management


Joel Dennis BellavansJoel Dennis Bellavans
Journalism

(Ottawa) With the acceptance of the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lipothellier, the past 12 months have not been easy for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and its staff.

The CRA was mandated to run a total of eight newly created emergency aid programs by the Trudeau government to support families, workers, and businesses during the crisis.

The agency has been handling more than a million calls per week on average since the start of the pandemic – nearly three times more than usual.

Every day, the Communications Regulatory Agency grapples with multiple cyberattacks by thieves trying to steal Canadian taxpayers’ personal data in order to obtain pocket support program funds on their behalf.

Employees of the CRA are expected to fulfill their professional obligations by working remotely, and so are many Canadian workers.

In an interview with Journalism, As tax season begins this Monday for the Canada Revenue Regulatory Agency, M.I am Lipothellier bluntly claims to have “a little white hair” since the epidemic changed everyone’s daily lives nearly a year ago.

“Frankly, I have the impression that the last elections took place 10 years ago, and a lot has happened since last year,” said Minister Lebothellier, who has been working from her home in Gaspe for nearly a year. The last time she was in Ottawa was in October. “I’ve spent a maximum of 10 days in Ottawa since the start of the crisis,” she said.

PHOTO PATRICK WOODBURY, archived law

Diane LeBothellier, Minister of National Revenue

The tax season that starts will be “very special”. The minister is already urging taxpayers to be patient with her administration, even if their patience has “already been tested” in recent months.

Due to its workload and new mandates, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority was granted new funds in the latest economic and financial update to employ 2,000 new employees. These employees should be in office for the next few weeks. “But we have to train them, these employees, and it is not easy when we have to work remotely,” M. emphasizedI am Lipothellia.

“I know people’s patience has been severely tested since last year. People are on the edge of the abyss. But we ask people to be patient again because I can tell you that at the level of the agency staff, they are doing their best.”

To answer taxpayer calls as quickly as possible, more agents will operate in call centers and business hours will be extended.

According to the minister, it is almost a miracle that the CRA is able to manage all the new programs that have been put in place. She does not hesitate to call CRA employees “guardian angels” because of the primary work they did during the pandemic.

In an interview, she said she suffered from insomnia a few days before the CRA began taking applications from Canadians for Canadian Emergency Benefit (CEP) last spring.

“I can tell you that I hadn’t slept for two days before PKU launched. I was very afraid of the computer systems failing. She said the IT team did a great job. In total, nearly 9 million Canadians have applied for ECPs.”

This IT team also has to counter multiple cyber attacks targeting TRA. “Cyber ​​predators are increasingly using sophisticated tricks. This requires the agency to have all this expertise to counter these attacks. So the staff are doing a great job. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

Of course, there have been hiccups in recent months. Canadians have been victims of identity theft by criminals who claim ECPs on their behalf. In this regard, Minister Lebothellier affirms that the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency will show leniency towards these fraud victims.

The minister promised that “through its commitment to serving people first, the agency will ensure that Canadians are treated fairly and with respect for this tax season.”

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