Integrity and security at the CRA: Keeping taxpayer information safe

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is an organization that touches the lives of all Canadians. Every day, we contribute to the economic and social well-being of Canadians by carrying out our duties with integrity and professionalism. We have worked hard to earn the public's trust, recognizing that it is the foundation of our voluntary tax assessment system.

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Integrity in the workplace is the cornerstone of our culture. Being an integrity-based organization means that the CRA must incorporate integrity into every aspect of business strategy and decision-making, from how we lead our people to how we treat sensitive information. The CRA supports its people in doing the right thing by providing clear guidelines and tools to ensure privacy, security and the protection of our programs and our data.

As cyber crime becomes more sophisticated and commonplace we are taking an active role in notifying taxpayers about potential threats involving fraudulent communications claiming to be from the CRA. We are committed to protecting the information that we receive from and about taxpayers and benefit recipients; all online transactions and communications with clients are conducted using secure servers which are protected by corporate firewalls to prevent unauthorized access. Personal information is stored on separate secure servers which are not directly accessible from the Internet. CRA employees work diligently to identify potential cyber-threats and our servers and firewalls are updated daily to provide the most up-to-date protection.

All CRA employees have an obligation to report any detected or suspected unauthorized access or disclosure of information, misconduct, or fraud, and any processes that appear to be vulnerable to fraud. Allegations or suspicions of employee misconduct are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. When misconduct is founded, we take the appropriate corrective measures, up to and including termination of employment. If criminal activity is suspected, the matter is referred to the proper authorities.

We are deeply committed to safeguarding the trust Canadians place in our organization, and to meeting their expectations that we have the right checks and balances in place to secure the information entrusted to us. These measures, technology, and processes enable us to continue to build on a tradition of integrity and professionalism that dates back to 1917. A good reputation takes years to establish, and we safeguard it by remaining vigilant in our efforts to protect taxpayers from security breaches and to protect Canada's tax administration system from misconduct and criminal wrongdoing.

Our commitment to integrity is further demonstrated in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which was launched in 2007, that supports the Government's firm commitment to fairness for taxpayers. It is a set of 16 rights confirming that the CRA will serve taxpayers with a high degree of accuracy, professionalism, courteousness and fairness. The Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman, that operates independently from the CRA, was established to ensure that the CRA's service to taxpayers respects the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

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