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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.