The Canada Revenue Agency will establish itself in the regions

Teleworking at the heart of a two-year pilot project carried out in Quebec

(Ottawa) A taxpayer from Alberta or elsewhere in the country will soon be able to be served by an employee of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) based in his home in the region of Abitibi, Bas-Saint -Laurent or the North Shore.

The CRA is embarking on a telework pilot project in the regions and has chosen Quebec as a laboratory. It is in the process of recruiting some 350 employees located across the province to test the advantages and disadvantages of teleworking in the regions. The recruiting campaign, which includes 75 executives, will end on May 16. The pilot project will begin no later than the end of the summer and will last two years.

If the advantages of teleworking in the regions are conclusive, the CRA will extend the program to the whole country, indicated the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, in an interview granted to The Press.

Representing a rural region herself at the Cabinet table – she has been a minister and MP for the riding of Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine since 2015 –, Lebouthillier believes that this initiative will make it possible to unearth talent in the regions without emptying them of their population.

We saw during the pandemic that telework offers new possibilities to be able to pick up people who want to stay in the regions. During the pandemic, there are also people who left the cities to settle in regions like mine.

Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

“We start first in the regions of Quebec. We are recruiting people for the call centres. During the pandemic, all Revenue Agency employees found themselves working from home. So the possibilities are there. Better still, we will be able to keep our young people in the regions. In itself, it’s huge,” added the former prefect of the MRC du Rocher-Percé.

Why was Quebec chosen to launch such a pilot project? It is the choice of the CRA and not his, indicated the minister. “If there’s anything I don’t want to do, it’s interfere in such decisions. We know our respective sandboxes. I was informed that a pilot project would be launched and that was it. »

Integrate recruits

The CRA, which has over 53,000 employees across the country, is one of the few departments to take such a step. The pilot project will in particular make it possible to experiment with the management of remote employees and to test the feeling of belonging to the organization. New employees will need to be mentored in a way that ensures they don’t feel isolated and that there is knowledge sharing.

When we’re all in an office, it’s easy for a new employee to ask colleagues a question. And it is obviously different in teleworking. So that’s all that we have to assess over the next two years.

Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

“The Canada Revenue Agency is a big family. I’ve been here since 2015. I’m like an old-timer,” laughs the minister. The seven years she spent at the helm of the ARC allow her to hold the record for longevity in this ministry among female ministers. The all-time record of 12 years belongs to former Liberal cabinet minister James Joseph McCann, who headed the Department of National Revenue from 1945 to 1957.

The CRA has led the way during the pandemic. The Trudeau government entrusted him with the management of emergency programs that were set up in record time to help workers, families and businesses affected by health restrictions.

“We managed a total of nine programs. In April 2020, when we launched the PCU, everyone thought we would break our teeth. We had sleepless nights before the programs started. But it went well. Agency employees have worked so hard. And they’ve never had a break since that time. We also had three tax seasons during the pandemic. During this period, we also migrated to a new computer system,” said the Minister.

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