Administration of the Agency

Strong

The Agency has rigorous, systematic administrative functions that support the effective achievement of priorities and program results.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) best practices are integrated in the ERM framework, along with continual risk identification, review, and assessment, and the development of mitigation strategies. Senior management supports and directs the identification and assessment of risk.

Effective internal audit and program evaluation functions exist and inform enterprise risk management and business planning processes. Internal audit and program evaluation recommendations are acted upon, and their progress regularly tracked and reported to senior management.

Sustainable development (SD) is integrated into management systems and practices, and the CRA meets its SD targets.

Acceptable

Agency administrative functions support the achievement of priorities and program results.

The management of risks on an enterprise‑wide level is embedded into the Agency's planning and management functions, including continually updated corporate and branch/regional risk inventories and mitigation strategies.

Internal audit and program evaluation functions exist and sometimes inform enterprise risk management and business planning processes. Internal audit and program evaluation recommendations are sometimes acted upon and their progress tracked.

A sustainable development strategy exists, including measures and targets.

Opportunity For Improvement

Improvements are needed for administrative functions. Achievement of priorities and program results may be at risk.

An enterprise risk management program exists, including corporate and branch/regional risk inventories and mitigation strategies.

Internal audit and program evaluation functions exist but do not factor into business planning. Internal audit and program evaluation recommendations are seldom acted upon.

A sustainable development strategy is being developed.

Attention Required

Achievement of priorities and program results are at risk due to serious deficiencies in administrative functions.

Risks are managed in a non‑systematic way at the business‑unit level. Risk inventories and mitigation strategies exist in some areas.

Internal audit and program evaluation functions are being developed. The Agency does not assess the effectiveness and costs of its programs in a systematic, evidence‑based way.

Sustainable development is not part of the Agency's management or planning processes.

Expectation (a): Risk Management – The Board must assure itself that the Agency follows appropriate risk management processes at the enterprise level.

Overview

The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Program was created in 2005 to ensure that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) established a systematic and comprehensive approach to managing risk, one that is fully integrated into the Agency's strategic, operational, and fiscal decision‑making processes and mechanisms.

The CRA has developed and implemented a solid ERM framework aligned with Government of Canada risk management (RM) expectations, as well as with international RM standards (for example, ISO 31000). The framework includes a comprehensive policy that is supported by strong processes, tools, and training products. Together, these elements allow for identifying, analyzing, evaluating, addressing, monitoring, reporting, and communicating enterprise, business, and project risks.

Since the inception of the ERM program, RM has become an essential part of good management, sound planning, and priority‑setting, as well as operational excellence at all levels within the CRA:

  • RM is included in the commissioner's priorities with the Board of Management (Board) and is a mandatory commitment for the Executive Cadre (EC). The Executive/Cadre (EC) Performance Agreement Guidelines state that it is a core responsibility for all EC members to embed risk management into their decision‑making process and to foster a working culture that promotes responsible risk‑based decisions.
  • Agency management participates in, and directs, the management of risks at all levels.
  • Projects presented to the Resource and Investment Management Committee (RIMC) undergo a risk assessment as part of the submission process. In addition, the Agency promotes a portfolio approach to managing investment projects, and risk consideration is one of the key factors required in establishing a CRA investment portfolio.
  • The corporate risk profile (CRP) (formerly comprised of the corporate risk inventory and its companion pieces, the CRA risk action plan and the status report) provides important information that enables the Board to undertake their risk oversight responsibilities and allows CRA to effectively manage its business. The development and implementation of strategies in response to enterprise risks for which controls are considered to be not enough or not effective show the Agency's ongoing commitment to make sure that appropriate action is taken to manage risks within the tolerance of the organization.
  • Project, Tax Service Office and branch/regional risk profiles, which the ERM program helped facilitate, have provided key information to CRA management to enable them to manage risks against their objectives.
  • The CRA's Enterprise Risk Management Program has been recognized for its excellence by CRA's management, as well as by other government organizations. It has achieved a Strong rating for the past two years under the TBS Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessments and is recognized nationally as a model of excellence.
  • In June 2010, the CRA further strengthened the program by creating a dedicated, independent and neutral ERM function under the leadership of a chief risk officer (CRO) who is also at an assistant commissioner level. The chairs of the Board and Governance Committee participated in the selection process of the CRO. Later, the Enterprise Risk Management Branch (ERMB) was created as an independently‑resourced branch to facilitate more strategic RM direction for the organization and provide objective and strategic advice to the commissioner, the AMC, senior management, and the Board with regard to risks facing the Agency.
  • Since its creation in June, the ERMB has presented a renewed ERM vision that aims to bring the organization to a more advanced ERM state where it fully embeds ERM as a strategic tool. Also, it has performed a benchmarking exercise on leading ERM practices within the private and public sectors, Crown corporations, consulting and research organizations, and tax revenue bodies across the world to inform improvements to its program and policy. In December 2010, the ERMB launched its new InfoZone site which will be an important portal to information and resources pertaining to risk management.

Key Questions

1. Has the Enterprise Risk Management Program been successful in facilitating the process for the development of effective risk response strategies?

Facilitating Effective Risk Response Strategies

Although an independent/third party assessment has yet to be conducted on the Enterprise Risk Management Program, the following key initiatives show how the ERMB has performed with regard to facilitating effective risk response strategies by linking relevant initiatives to four key success criteria.

Key Success Criteria:

Risk sponsors/Office of Primary Interest (OPIs), Office of Secondary Interest (OSIs) and other individuals involved in developing and implementing risk response strategies are provided with appropriate contextual information.

  • The ERMB places a lot of importance on conducting regular environmental scans on elements that may affect the Agency's risks. The ERMB published its last environmental scan in November 2010 to support senior management in developing the CRA's 2011 CRP.
  • The scan identifies key trends/changes in the environment that could impact the nature and/or severity of the risks previously identified as well as those that could present new risks to the Agency. The scan takes into account both internal and external environments to produce a coherent view of risk drivers. Risk response strategies often target these risk drivers since they are the source of risks.
  • As part of the RM process, the ERMB facilitates the identification of controls associated with risks identified at the corporate, branch/regional, and project levels. These control measures inventories allow individuals involved in developing risk response strategies to have an understanding of what is in place to mitigate risks and of where gaps might exist.

Risk sponsors/OPIs, OSIs and others involved in developing and implementing risk response strategies have an adequate level of RM knowledge and are supported by an appropriate RM culture. Through its centre of expertise, the ERMB offers and participates in a broad range of learning initiatives that target various audiences. Together this contributes to further embedding of RM into the CRA culture and increasing the RM knowledge of individuals involved in developing and implementing risk response strategies.

  • The CRA offers a 1.5‑day RM training session for managers and executives. This audience was targeted to ensure that people making decisions with the greatest organizational impact had the appropriate knowledge and tools to manage their risks effectively. A pilot one‑day version of this course is being delivered to respond to participants' feedback on the course.
  • Since 2009, 461 CRA employees have participated in the training. The training target for the fiscal year 2010‑2011 is 200. To date, 201 CRA employees have been trained and an additional 30 to 60 are expected to be trained towards the end of the fiscal year. The ERMB expects to exceed its performance target by 15% for 2010‑11 and has set a training target of 400 for fiscal year 2011‑12.
  • As part of its commitment to improve its RM training delivery to CRA employees, the ERMB requires training participants to provide course feedback through the completion of course evaluation forms. The results of the 2010‑2011 course evaluation on the one‑day RM training pilot shows that participants' knowledge of RM increased by 58% after attending this course. This result exceeds by 28% the 30% target established by the ERMB. As well, 98% of the participants indicated that they would recommend this learning product to their colleagues.
  • The MG Learning Program includes a two‑hour segment on RM under the Finance and Administration Module. To date, 95% of the RM segments of the MGLP were attended and supported by ERMB subject matter experts.
  • The EC Learning Program for new executives was first piloted by the CRA in November 2010. To support this initiative, the ERMB developed a 90‑minute RM training module to spread RM knowledge throughout the Agency. Based on the evaluation results received from the Executive Personnel Programs Directorate, the risk management module received assessment scores above the average ratings for all evaluation criteria for the program.
  • The ERMB also revised the Agency ERM policy with an increased emphasis on promoting horizontality and a strong risk culture. The policy is due for final approval by the Board in March 2011. The policy states the requirement to adhere to the CRA RM process which includes risk monitoring and reporting, that is, tracking and reporting on the evolution of risk exposure and the effectiveness of risk actions. This requirement supports the CRA's commitment to fostering a sound RM culture across the Agency which is also stated in the policy.

Risk sponsors/OPIs, OSIs, and other individuals involved in developing and implementing risk response strategies receive adequate support and guidance from the ERMB with regard to the development of risk response strategies.

  • ERMB senior analysts are assigned to specific branches and regions to provide dedicated support on action plan development and reporting.
  • To help risk sponsors to develop strategies, the Risk Response Strategy Guidelines were developed by the ERMB. These guidelines have been shared with individuals involved in the development of risk response strategies and support has been provided by the ERMB in implementing them. In addition to that, the guidelines were posted on the InfoZone in early 2010. This enables the development of effective risk responses at all levels within the Agency (corporate, branch, region, directorate, project, etc.).
  • In the spirit of continuous improvement, the ERMB intends to revise the guidelines as appropriate. In light of the recent creation of the ERMB, and in keeping with the new ERM vision for the CRA, it is expected that the guidelines will undergo a formal review next fiscal year, with the first work starting in the fourth quarter of 2010‑2011.

There is enough monitoring of the progress and performance on the implementation of the risk response strategies.

  • The accountability for the management of risks — including risk monitoring — lies with risk sponsors/OPIs supported by OSIs. Frequency of reporting varies depending on the severity of a risk. At the corporate level, risks are reported on at least once a year. Risk sponsors/OPIs are responsible for providing information, and coordinates with OSIs, on the progress and performance of risk response strategies. The ERMB supports risk sponsors/OPIs in their reporting responsibilities.
  • The ERMB has facilitated the identification of performance indicators to effectively gauge risk response strategies' progress against expected results. The collection of data against these indicators began in January 2011. The ERMB will also facilitate the reporting on risk response strategies' implementation.
  • Monitoring activities allow for early warnings regarding progress on the implementation of risk response strategies as well as performance. It also provides information on the implementation of new controls for managing the risks from one cycle to the next. Risk response strategies are considered controls once implemented and considered effective.
  • The risk response strategies that have been developed from the corporate risk profile exercise are considered in CRA corporate planning, priority setting, and strategic decision making processes, further demonstrating RM's integration into the Agency's culture. The ERMB is working in partnership with the Strategy and Integration Branch (SIB) for the inclusion of key risk response strategies in the CRA corporate business plan and report on plans and priorities. Performance against these action plans is reported in the CRA annual report and the departmental performance report. Also, most of the performance indicators used for risk action plans are aligned with the performance measurement framework developed for the CRA annual report.

Sources of Evidence

  • CRA Corporate Risk Inventory 2007, Status Report, September 2008‑January 2010
  • Corporate Risk Inventory Update 2010
  • Defining Roles and Responsibilities with Regard to Enterprise Risk Management, November 2010
  • Enterprise Risk Management Cycle‑Leading Practices, August 2010
  • Enterprise Risk Management Branch InfoZone
  • EC Learning Program (piloted December 2010) — Risk Management Module Material
  • MG Learning Program — Risk Management Module Material
  • Risk Response Strategy Guidelines (Posted on InfoZone)
  • Risk Management for Managers and Executives Training Material and course feedback/evaluations from training sessions

Board's Assessment and Related Comments

2009‑2010
2010‑2011
Board's Assessment and Related Comments
Strong
Strong
Next Steps
None indicated.
To update the corporate risk profile and action plans, and to establish risk tolerances (September 2011 Board presentation).

Expectation (b): Program Evaluation – The Board must assure itself that the Agency has an effective program evaluation function to assess the long‑term success of Agency programs.

Overview

The CRA policy on program evaluation was revised in the fall of 2009. The policy emphasizes the organizational independence of the Program Evaluation Division, and specifies key responsibilities and accountabilities with respect to management, implementation, and oversight of the evaluation function. The evaluation function seeks to provide credible information on the performance of CRA programs, as well as effective advice and guidance on results measurement to CRA management. Although it is challenging to conclude on the extent to which program changes have been made before a follow‑up evaluation, the CRA uses evaluation information to inform expenditure and policy decisions and program improvement.

The Program Evaluation Plan is based on a number of considerations, including CRA priorities, corporate risks, suggestions from CRA senior management, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat requirements for evaluations, and Resource and Investment Management Committee (RIMC) requirements. The evaluation planning process also takes into account the audit work that has been performed or is planned by the Corporate Audit and Evaluation Branch's (CAEB) Internal Audit Division and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). More recently, program coverage is being taken into account as a factor in developing evaluation plans. The CRA program activity architecture (PAA) is considered to be the evaluation universe for planning purposes. The Agency tracks which components of the PAA have been evaluated in the past and takes this into account when selecting areas of future evaluation.

Key Questions

1. Does the evaluation function provide credible and neutral information on program performance and effective advice and guidance on results measurement to CRA management?

Credible and Neutral Information

The Program Evaluation Division (PED) provides neutral and credible results related information to CRA management by first identifying evaluation issues and developing evaluation methodologies (evaluation frameworks) and then reporting the related findings and recommendations (evaluation studies).

To ensure the provision of credible and neutral information, all program evaluation work is conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Evaluation Standard for the Government of Canada.

Four evaluation studies, one evaluation framework, and one evaluability assessment were completed in 2010‑2011. Post‑evaluation surveys indicate that managers responsible for the evaluated programs felt that the evaluations were conducted in a professional manner and that the evaluation reports were balanced, constructive, and supported by facts.

PED continued to respond to requests for assistance on results measurement and other advice from branches. Many of these requests were related to projects subject to the RIMC approval process.

PED also plays a co‑ordinating or liaison role with respect to interdepartmental evaluations led by other federal agencies and departments who have requested CRA participation. During 2010‑2011, PED has been involved in six interdepartmental evaluations.

Effective Advice and Guidance

During 2010‑2011, PED responded to requests for advice for 16 projects. Client surveys and other feedback received from branches about advice and guidance received from PED continue to be very positive.

Average client ratings from the program areas surveyed (nine respondents over the past 13 months) for six attributes of advisory services were measured on a seven‑point scale, from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The results were as follows:

  • Timeliness of response: 6.5
  • Level of knowledge: 6.4
  • Ability to explain concepts: 6.4
  • Consistency of advice: 6.4
  • Expectations met: 6.2
  • Effort to understand project challenges: 6.8

Sources of Evidence

  • Chart — Evaluation Frameworks and Studies 2010‑2011
  • Interdepartmental Evaluations
  • List of Projects provided Advisory Services

2. Does the CRA make effective use of evaluation information to inform expenditure and policy decisions and program improvement?

Program Evaluation Policy

Addressing the Board's next step, on March 15, 2010, the Program Evaluation Policy received Board approval and came into effect. The objective of this policy is to provide a framework for a professional and effective program evaluation function that:

  • assesses the performance and relevance of Agency programs, policies, and initiatives, and identifies alternative ways of delivering programs, policies, and initiatives or achieving the same results; and
  • provides advice and assistance to program managers on evaluation and performance measurement.

Evaluation Reports

These reports typically contain recommendations to management. It is difficult to assess whether these recommendations have had an impact until a period after the evaluation has been finalized. Management must first take action to respond to recommendations. Depending on the complexity of the issue, it may take time to implement recommendations and to see their effect. The indicators of whether the CRA is using information from evaluations are:

  • whether management accepts evaluation recommendations;
  • whether management perceives evaluation recommendations to be useful and realistic, and whether they believe that there is potential for meaningful improvement as a result of an evaluation; and
  • evidence of actions taken as a result of an evaluation.

All of the recommendations contained in the four evaluations completed in 2010‑2011 were accepted and management has indicated the action that they will take to respond to the above indicators.

There is evidence that action has been taken as a result of evaluation completed within the last two fiscal years. Some examples of change being initiated as a result of recent evaluations include:

  • Debt Management Collection Call Centre Evaluation (completed June 2010): Following approval of the evaluation, the Corporate Audit and Evaluation Branch provided assistance to the Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch in developing a system for measuring effectiveness of arrangements based on the methodology used for the evaluation.
  • Enforcement and Disclosures Evaluation (completed October 2010): Since this evaluation was only approved in October 2010, it is too early to comment on action taken. However, the Compliance Programs Branch is planning to re‑examine the enforcement mandate and develop a strategic plan as a result of the evaluation. Even before finalizing the evaluation report, it was having an impact as it became the focus of the May 2010 EDD National Symposium. PED also arranged for presentations by the U.K., U.S. and Australian tax administrations which were also key agenda items for the symposium.

Sources of Evidence

  • PED Client Survey Database
  • Reference the MAEC decision re: HQ Region Managers Exchange Program
  • Taxpayer Services and Debt Management Branch status report on GST Registration Evaluation Recommendations
  • Evidence of actions taken as a result of Evaluations within the last two fiscal years

Board's Assessment and Related Comments

2009‑2010
2010‑2011
Board's Assessment and Related Comments
Acceptable
Acceptable
Next Steps
The Agency is re‑examining its evaluation framework to ensure that high priority evaluations are undertaken on a timely basis. Completed.
Continue to focus on forward‑looking, multi‑year program evaluation Plan.
Ensure that an evaluation framework is developed for all new programs.
Clarification of Program
Evaluation Key Questions

Expectation (c): Internal Audit – The Board must assure itself that the Agency has an effective internal audit function to provide assurance on the efficacy of the Agency's control framework.

Overview

Corporate Audit and Evaluation Branch (CAEB) management will continue to be proactive in addressing the need to attract and retain both auditors and evaluators. Through strategic workforce planning and succession planning, CAEB management is taking measures to determine talent requirements. The CAEB Workforce Plan supports the CRA Workforce Plan and is linked to the Public Service Renewal initiative. For example, in 2010‑2011, the CAEB initiated a formal mentoring program to develop in‑house talent, support employees' career paths, and contribute to knowledge transfer. Staffing requirements are a key component of the CAEB annual planning exercise in ensuring the skills are available to do the planned audits.

The International Professional Practices Framework of the Institute of Internal Auditors Standard 1312 states that external assessments must be conducted at least once every five years by a qualified, independent reviewer or review team from outside the organization. In 2006, the Agency was one of the first government entities reviewed and achieved the highest possible rating. The Agency is on track to obtain the highest possible rating when the 2011 external review is conducted.

The Agency is following the lead of the Office of the Comptroller General by supporting internal auditors to become professionally accredited as certified internal auditors (CIAs) by the Institute of Internal Auditors to meet the growing need for qualified internal auditors within government.

The Agency also supports the achievement of other professional designations by auditors including CA, CMA, CGA, CISA, and CIAs. For example, the CAEB is an active participant in the Government of Canada Chartered Accountant Student Training (CAST) Program.

The CAEB business plan focuses primarily on the provision of assurance and evaluation services to the Audit Committee of the Board of Management (Board), commissioner, and Agency senior management while ensuring appropriate attention is directed at addressing areas of government‑wide interest. To ensure the reliability and accuracy of the internal audit reports, internal audit work is conducted in accordance with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. Planning and final products are reviewed by a formal quality review committee, and the internal audit function is also monitored and assessed for overall effectiveness by an external assessor every five years. All planned engagements and final reports are approved by the Management Audit and Evaluation Committee (MAEC) and the Board. Approved final reports are posted to the Agency Web site in consultation with Public Affairs Branch.

The chief audit executive has an in‑camera meeting with the Board at each quarterly meeting.

Key Questions

1. Is internal audit planning appropriate (risk‑based, addresses the right risks, appropriate approvals, methodology, etc.)?

Internal Audit Planning

Internal Audit planning is primarily based on Agency risks, but also reflects the CRA management priorities as outlined in the Corporate Business Plan 20102011 to 20122013.

Internal audits focus on improving the management of program delivery, and on strengthening accountability by providing senior management with information on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Agency's internal control systems, as well as the quality of performance to achieve the Agency's priorities.

RiskBased Internal Audits

Risk‑based internal audits consider Agency risks, corporate business plan priorities and the CAEB's risk assessment of the audit universe. Risk assessment entails environmental scanning and consultation with CRA management. The CAEB also considers any audit or review work being done by central agencies such as the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Canada. Internal audit results provide timely information to the commissioner and to the Board to contribute to their oversight responsibilities.

The CAEB provides the Board with regular and timely assurance and information on CRA activities through presentation of MAEC approved reports in addition to progress‑to‑plan status reports and briefings on work being conducted in key high risk areas.

CAEB 's Annual Report

The CAEB prepares an annual report that provides an overview of the CAEB's performance. Action taken to date that would, in time, allow for more specific reporting on the three elements identified by the OAG (risk, controls, and governance) have initially been focused on controls, and include the following:

  • developed an automated database with linkages of audit results to the CRA program activity architecture (PAA), TBS Management Accountability Framework (MAF), and related controls;
  • implementation of continuous auditing of the effectiveness of specified controls (automated); and
  • revision of CAEB internal planning and reporting templates as required to facilitate the recording and compilation of audit results for summary reporting, for example, new requirement to identify linkages to corporate risks and the MAF.

The CAEB annual business plan is approved by the Board Audit Committee and quarterly progress‑to‑plan reports are provided.

The CAEB is on track to complete the engagements as outlined in the 2009‑2012 and 2010‑2013 CAEB business plans.

Sources of Evidence

  • CAEB 2009‑2010 Annual Report
  • CAEB 2009‑2012 Business Plan
  • CAEB 2010 ‑2013 Business Plan
  • Progress to plan reports submitted at every Board meeting
  • Final reports tabled with the Board from March 2010 to March 2011
  • Audits posted to the CRA Web site in 2010‑2011

2. Are internal audit reports objective, reliable, accurate and of high‑quality?

Objective, Reliable, Accurate

The CAEB maintains a Professional Practices Division to provide guidance, tools, and advice to further ensure audits are conducted in an objective, reliable, and accurate manner. A formal quality review process also ensures that all planning documentation and reporting instruments being tabled with the MAEC and Board are of the highest possible quality.

The audits conducted by the CAEB examined areas for improvement and best practices across the spectrum of the CRA program activity architecture. They focused on areas such as financial and other controls, information technology, governance, program delivery, and effectiveness. All audits were conducted in accordance with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and when applicable, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association's Control Objective for Information and Related Technology.

Sources of Evidence

  • Professional Practices Division
  • formal quality review process
  • client satisfaction surveys

3. Are management action plans implemented?

Implementation of Action Plans

In December 2010, the CAEB tabled the Follow‑up of 2007‑2008 Internal Audit Reports with the MAEC and the Board. This annual follow‑up report also includes any outstanding action plans from previous‑year audits. In doing this, the CAEB provides Agency management with assurance that action plans are being addressed and implemented. In 2010‑2011, the CAEB also included follow‑up of 5970 Controls recommendations made to the Finance and Administration Branch by the OAG.

Several immediate actions were taken in response to audits completed in 2010‑2011. Examples of audits conducted during the year where immediate actions were taken included ITB Work Order Process and Financial Monitoring Controls‑Operating Expenses.

Management Responses to Audit Recommendations contributed to improvements during 2010‑2011. These audits included: Taxpayer Services‑Telephone Enquiries, Audit Trails‑Mainframe Access to Taxpayer Information, and Debt Management Call Centre Internal Audit.

The CAEB conducted the OAG Monitoring Exercise and the report was tabled with the Board. The report indicated that the Agency has made good progress in addressing audit recommendations stemming from OAG performance audits reported from 2004 to 2008. At fiscal year‑end (2009‑2010), 52% of the outstanding recommendations have been fully or substantially implemented. Based on the self‑assessment and substantiation provided by management, the CAEB is satisfied that the Agency's progress in addressing the OAG's recommendations is reasonable.

Sources of Evidence

  • Follow‑up of 2007‑2008 Internal Audit Reports
  • Examples of immediate management response to Audit activities and/or recommendations
  • Selected Examples of Management Action Plans (MAP) in response to 2010‑2011 Audit Recommendations
  • OAG Monitoring Exercise

Board's Assessment and Related Comments

2009‑2010
2010‑2011
Board's Assessment and Related Comments
Strong
Strong
Next Steps
None indicated.
Focus on succession planning.               

Expectation (d): Sustainable Development – The Board must assure itself that sustainable development is embedded in the way the Agency does business.

Overview

The Agency's Sustainable Development Program is led by the Sustainable Development Division and is supported by a network of sustainable development (SD) practitioners in all CRA branches and regions. Management at all levels is responsible for providing support and direction for planning and implementing SD activities at the CRA and SD is included in EC performance agreements. The Sustainable Development Strategy outlines concrete plans to integrate SD into CRA policies, programs, and operations. SD is incorporated in key CRA planning and reporting documents, including the report on plans and priorities, corporate business plan, and annual report. To effectively integrate SD into CRA operations and service delivery, the Agency uses modern management tools, systems, and processes.

1. Is the CRA meeting its and the Government of Canada's sustainable development goals and targets?

Sustainable Development Strategy

Both the Government of Canada (GoC) and CRA SD goals and targets are accounted for under the CRA SD Strategy 2007‑2010 and the supporting SD National Action Plan. The plan was extended to March 2011 to guide the Agency's transition to the new accountability requirements under the Federal Sustainable Development Act 2008.

Overall, the Agency achieved 87% of the planned progress on the strategy and action plan and met 10 of the 15 GoC SD commitments. The CRA also realized about 70% progress on the remaining 5 commitments, which will be completed in the CRA SD Strategy 2011‑2014. More details can be found in Annex B of the 2009‑2010 SD Annual Report. The Agency's key SD achievements are:

Greening:

Increased employee access to solid waste management program from 74% to 90%, thereby diverting 84% of solid waste from landfill. This exceeded the target of a 70% diversion rate and represented an increase from 79% in 2007.

Increased spending on green products bought through Synergy to $28.7 million, or 21.4% of total spending — exceeding our target of 20%. This is an increase from 17% in 2007.

We included SD clauses and environmental specifications in all new strategic sourcing contracts.

Increased to 47%, the proportion of our vehicle fleet that is considered green (hybrid/alternative fuel capable) — this compares to 38% in 2007.

Reduced use of office paper by 29% since 2005 to 5,147 sheets per employee — exceeding the SD strategy target of 5,643 sheets per employee.

Promoted energy reduction initiatives and sustainable travel options.

Integration:

To support sustainable service delivery, the Agency integrated SD criteria into 85% of memoranda of understanding and letters of intent between the CRA and other organizations.

Continued to integrate SD considerations into CRA policy instruments.

Under the Sustainable Development Innovation Fund, $50,000 was awarded to finance the implementation of three projects.

Accountability:

99% of the Executive/Cadre (EC) Group and 82% of the Management/Gestion (MG) Group included SD commitments in their performance agreements.

The Agency conducted consultations to develop the CRA SD strategy 2011‑2014. The strategy aligns with the new federal SD strategy that was tabled in the House of Commons in October 2010. The CRA SD strategy will be tabled via the report on plans and priorities in March 2011.

Sources of Evidence

  • CRA Sustainable Development Strategy 2007‑2010
  • RPP/CBP
  • Sustainable development reports
  • Annual Report to Parliament 2009‑2010
  • Synergy online procurement system
  • SD National Action Plan 2007‑2010
  • Branch, regional, and directorate SD action plans 2007‑2010
  • Communications Strategy for SD
  • Online SD Performance Reporting Tool
  • SD Network semi‑annual reports
  • Transition‑year SD National Action Plan 2010‑2011
  • CRA polices on Sustainable Development and the Environment

Board's Assessment and Related Comments

2009‑2010
2010‑2011
Board's Assessment and Related Comments
Strong
Strong
Next Steps
None indicated.