Organization of the Agency

Strong

The Agency shows a rigorous, systematic approach to accountability through performance management practices that support the effective achievement of priorities and program results.

The Agency's governance and accountability structures generate the optimal amount of co‑ordination, innovation, and performance.

High alignment and integration exists between the executive cadre performance agreements, the Agency's priorities, and the Board's objectives.

Accountabilities for results are clearly assigned and appropriate, and executive commitments are of high quality.

Acceptable

Agency accountability structures and processes support the achievement of priorities and program results.

The Agency's governance and accountability structures generate an acceptable amount of co‑ordination and accomplishment.

Adequate alignment and integration exists between the executive cadre performance agreements, the Agency's priorities, and the Board's objectives.

Accountabilities for results are assigned and executive commitments are of good quality.

Opportunity For Improvement

Improvements are needed to meet minimum levels of acceptable accountability. Achievement of priorities and program results may be at risk.

Deficiencies within the governance and accountability structures of the Agency are identified and tentative steps are taken to address the issues.

Policies, processes, and practices are being developed and need to be integrated within the Agency.

Attention Required

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

Little or no corporate oversight exists regarding the development of appropriate accountability instruments.

There is little or no alignment between Agency priorities and management actions.

Expectation (a): Governance – The Board must assure itself that the Agency has an appropriate governance structure

Overview

The CRA has a unique governance structure:

  • The minister of national revenue is accountable to Parliament for all aspects of the CRA's operations and administration;
  • The Board of Management (Board) is responsible for overseeing the organization and administration of the CRA, the management of its resources, services, property, personnel, and contracts, as well as the development of the Agency's Corporate Business Plan (CBP); and
  • The Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, who has dual accountability, being responsible for the day‑to‑day management of the CRA under the Board's oversight and is accountable to the minister for the administration of program legislation.

The CRA has seven corporate committees which oversee the business operations and the strategic direction of the Agency. They are made up of branch and regional heads and meet regularly. The main decision‑making body is the Agency Management Committee (AMC). The AMC oversees program development and delivery, as well as the day‑to‑day business operations of the Agency. All business items going before the Board must first be tabled at AMC for approval.

Agency management holds a strategic planning meeting (SPM) each year. The SPM is used to identify strategic priorities and supporting activities.

To help the Board fulfil its governance responsibilities, four committees and one sub‑committee undertake much of the detailed review of items brought before the Board for its consideration.

The Audit, Governance, Human Resources, and Resources committees apprise the Board of the items that fall within their scope. The BoMOF Subcommittee approves the BoMOF framework and does the annual assessment. Each of these committees provides advice and makes recommendations to the Board.

A Board competency profile and matrix are maintained and used to ensure that the right balance of competencies, experience, and skill sets exists among Board members. Four members of the Board, including the Chair, have obtained the ICDD certification from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).

Working through the corporate secretary, Board members have access to senior management. The corporate secretary:

  • makes sure that there is a reliable information flow between the Board and senior management;
  • schedules regular meetings between senior management, as well as committee and Board chairs; and
  • records and actions all follow‑up items requested by the Board.

The Agency Secretariat and International Relations Directorate manages a portal for the Board where members can access all meeting material electronically.

The Agency's Chief Audit Executive (CAE) participates in the in camera sessions with the Board's Audit Committee at each quarterly in‑person meeting. The CAE reports on internal audits and program evaluations that are approved by the Management Audit and Evaluation Committee to the Audit Committee of the Board for its review.

Members of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada participate in all regular sessions of the Board's Audit Committee.

The Board and senior management work together to reach the Agency's business objectives. The Board chair and commissioner hold regular calls to discuss key issues, and senior management participates in the Board's in‑person meetings, its quarterly teleconferences, and any other ad hoc meetings when required.

The Commissioner provides an update on significant CRA activities at each quarterly Board in‑person meeting and at scheduled Board teleconferences during the intervening periods.

Agency management works with the Board to develop priorities for the planning cycle during the corporate business plan development process, and participates in the Board's yearly SPM.

The Guidelines to Complete Executive Cadre (EC) Performance Agreements for 2010‑2011 were developed to make sure that executive performance agreements translate the priorities and deliverables in the corporate business plan into action and address performance gaps noted in the Agency's annual report.

Sources of Evidence

  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Act
  • CRA Board of Management (Board) Governance Manual
  • Board and Committee Work Plans, Agendas, and Minutes
  • Strategic Planning Meeting – Agendas and Minutes
  • Infozone Committees page
  • Corporate Committees — Mandates
  • Corporate Committees Protocol
  • Guidelines to Complete Executive/Cadre (EC) Performance Agreements for 2010‑2011

Key Questions

1. Are the Agency's decision‑making structure and processes effective?

Agency's DecisionMaking Structure and Processes

As per the Board's comments from the 2009‑2010 BoMOF Assessment, the results of a review of corporate committees confirmed the need to modernize the corporate committee structure and identified several possible improvements. All adjustments were implemented immediately, including the creation of two new committees: one strategic and one tactical.

To respond to the Next Steps the Board identified in 2009‑2010, the Board has reviewed the changes to the Agency's governance structures and has added value when appropriate. Selected Board members participated in the selection process for the Agency's Chief Risk Officer and the Chief Financial Officer.

The Ad Hoc Committee to Review Board Process and Content (comprised of the chairs of the Board and its four committees, and the Commissioner), has begun work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Board. One of the Committee's priorities is to bring a greater strategic focus to the Board's work and documentation, enabling more comprehensive, focused discussion and more informed decision‑making at the Board level.

In an effort to enhance senior management's understanding of the Board's oversight responsibilities and priorities, two members of senior management, starting in June, 2010, attend each set of Board meetings as observers.

Board decisions are fully integrated with and support Agency direction and strategies described in the corporate business plan. Decisions are informed by rigorous analysis of risk, research, expected results, the environment, and other considerations.

The Agency continues to adopt emerging best practices in enterprise risk management, and is formalizing roles and responsibilities for risk governance within the organization. Risk oversight is included in the mandate of each of the Agency's corporate committees.

The Chief Risk Officer:

  • provides sound risk information for decision‑making at the corporate, operational, and project levels;
  • maintains the Agency's corporate risk profile; and
  • regularly brings items to the Board for information and discussion.

Sources of Evidence

  • Board of Management Oversight Framework — Assessment of Performance 2009‑2010
  • Infozone committees page
  • Corporate Committees — Mandates
  • Board and Committee Agendas and Minutes
  • Corporate Risk Profile
  • Enterprise Risk Management Branch — Infozone page
  • Ad Hoc Committee to Review Board Process and Content — Minutes and Reports

Board's Assessment and Related Comments

2009‑2010
2010‑2011
Board's Assessment and Related Comments
Strong
Management has undertaken a review of governance structures and will be implementing changes to to those structures. Completed.
Strong
Next Steps
The Board will review the changes and take action in areas where it can add value. Completed.
 

Expectation (b): Internal Accountability – The Board must assure itself that the Agency has an appropriate internal accountability structure.

Overview

The Agency's and the Board's priorities are described in the corporate business plan (CBP). Agency management works with the Board to develop priorities for the planning cycle during the CBP development process. Key commitments in executive performance agreements are developed from these priorities, thereby cascading them down into the Agency and assigning personal accountability for them.

The Board sets annual performance objectives for the commissioner and performs an annual and mid‑year assessment of progress against the objectives set for the previous year. Performance objectives for the commissioner are consistent with the strategic objectives of the Agency as set out in the CBP. The Board also provides input into the performance assessments and performance objectives of corporate assistant commissioners (ACs) (the chief audit executive (CAE), chief financial officer (CFO), chief information officer (CIO), chief risk officer (CRO) and the assistant commissioners of the Human Resources Branch (HRB), and the Strategy and Integration Branch (SIB), and the corporate secretary).

Executive (EC) performance agreements translate the priorities and deliverables in the CBP into action and address performance gaps noted in the Agency's annual report. They offer an overall view of ongoing responsibilities and prioritize commitments for the coming year. Within the EC Guidelines, ECs are asked to consider the Agency commitments presented in the EC Foundation Table, which includes mandatory commitments founded on CRA priorities.

Sources of Evidence

  • 2010‑2011 EC Foundation Table
  • Guidelines to Complete Executive/Cadre ( EC ) Performance Agreements 20102011
  • Summary of the Corporate Business Plan
  • 2010‑2011 Performance Agreement with the CRA's Board of Management — Commissioner of Revenue
  • 2010‑2011 Performance Agreement, CFO, CAE, CIO, CRO, AC, SIB, AC, HRB, Corporate Secretary
  • Mid‑Year Progress on the Commissioner's 2010‑2011 Performance Agreement with the Board of Management

Key Questions

1. Does the alignment of accountabilities with plans, priorities and Board objectives support the effectiveness of the Agency?

Alignment of Accountabilities

All priorities and accountabilities are linked from the ACs to the commissioner and deputy commissioner and to the overall Government of Canada and Public Service of Canada priorities.

ACs contribute towards supporting the commissioner's commitments to the Board.

In 2010‑2011, the Board provided input to the performance agreements of the corporate ACs and the corporate secretary. The Board's input was sought to make sure that the performance commitments were aligned with corporate plans, priorities, and Board objectives.

2. Has the Agency been proactive in identifying and preparing for the impacts of the cost containment measures?

Agency Actions Taken

As part of the 2010 federal budget, the Minister of Finance set out a plan for returning the federal budget to a balanced position. This plan included cost containment measures whereby wage and operating cost increases would be managed by each department and agency until 2012‑2013. In addition, the Government launched a comprehensive review of government administrative functions and overhead costs —identifying opportunities for savings and improved service delivery.

To mitigate key funding pressures, the Agency launched a number of demand mitigation studies, including the review of sent mail and postage, the demand for litigation legal services, the appeals inventory, the access to information and privacy (ATIP) inventory, and realignment of the Corporate Tax Administration for Ontario (CTAO) funding.

The Agency Management Committee led the development of a cost containment management plan to make sure that resources would be available to maintain the Agency's delivery of its core business while respecting the need for fiscal restraints.

Board Updates

The Agency provides regular updates to the Board to provide assurance that it is preparing, for, and addressing, the impacts of the Government's Cost Containment Initiative through its cost containment management plan.

Sources of Evidence

  • Budget 2010
  • Administrative Review
  • Demand Mitigation papers
  • Managing the Budget 2010 Cost Containment Initiatives in CRA – Sept. 1, 2010
  • Minister's Package
  • Records of Decisions documents
  • Board Agendas and Minutes

Board's Assessment and Related Comments

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