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ALBAS: Canada Revenue Agency sparking public anger

Dan Albas a Member of Parliament.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Dan Albas
February 03, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


I have in several of my previous weekly MP Reports covered the topic of single parents; most often single mothers, being unfairly denied Canada child benefit payments.

As a result of these reports I have received numerous pleas for assistance. I have also heard many disturbing situations having occurred as a result of often heavy handed and unfair actions by the Canada Revenue Agency.

In fact, when one includes the efforts by CRA to tax employee discounts and the challenges that many citizens encounter when attempting to call CRA, I would submit that in the past twelve months no single federal agency has resulted in more public anger directed to my office than the CRA.

I say anger as a recently released report from the Auditor General revealed that CRA actually blocks more than half the calls it receives at call centres, where people are looking for assistance. 

This is an entirely unacceptable situation.

To be clear, this is not the fault of front line staff who I have often found try to be helpful.

Ultimately I fault senior management and the Minister responsible.

I mention these things because I was shocked this week to learn that the Trudeau Liberal Government authorized senior executives at CRA to receive on average a $35,000 bonus payment.

On top of that, it was also revealed that in the first fiscal year of the Liberal Government, overall executive bonus payments were not only significantly increased, they were double the rate of inflation!

That is almost twice as much as was increased to the rest of the public service!

For many public servants, who have been adversely impacted by the Phoenix payroll system, this is a troubling situation.

By the numbers, CRA executive bonus pay increases authorized by the Liberals was 3.2 per cent.

The pay increase for the majority of the public sector was 1.25 per cent in comparison.

As some may recall last year, it was reported that the Liberals had also increased the number of bureaucrats in Ottawa to the highest level in almost a decade. An increase of 14,000 more staff in the Ottawa capital region alone.

For the 2017 fiscal year, the overall number of federal staff, Canada wide, increased by another 3700 bringing the total number to 262,696. For some added context, in the year 2000 there was a total of 211,925 federal staff across all departments.

My question this week relates to executive bonus payments within the Federal Government: Are you concerned with CRA bonus payments being awarded by the Liberals at more than twice the rate of inflation?

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

— Dan Albas is the MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola


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