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Government of Canada Receives Performance Audit from the Auditor General of Canada on Access to Benefits for Hard-to-Reach Populations

OTTAWA, ON, May 31, 2022 /CNW/ – Following the presentation of the reports of the Auditor General of the Canada in the spring of 2022, the government of Canada issued the following statement in response to the report Access to benefits for hard-to-reach populations”:

As a government continually looking for ways to improve its service delivery to Canadians, we welcome the Auditor General’s recommendations to foster better collaboration, leverage data strategically, and measure the effectiveness of our approaches.

The government continues to focus its attention and efforts on informing hard-to-reach and vulnerable people about the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. For example, the Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment that helps low- and middle-income families provide for their children. ACE provides a helping hand to eligible families with children under the age of 18. In the 2020-21 benefit year alone, we delivered over $25 billion to more than 3.7 million families across Canada.

The Auditor General’s report recognizes that the government is making considerable communication efforts that are directed at hard-to-reach populations and that aim to increase awareness of the benefits and credits available. Steps taken include in-person visits, working with local support organizations, sharing information with stakeholders, and working with partners to provide free tax clinics.

Government programs help Canadians, but not all segments of society have equal access to benefits and credits. This is due in large part to barriers to service delivery. We recognize that critical supports are required for some Indigenous communities, people living in remote areas, low-income seniors and families, and people with disabilities, who are among those who do not have access to our services.

One of the initiatives that is taking shape right now is Serving All Canadians. This horizontal approach, which aims to improve access to registrations and to increase their number, focuses on solving the most common problems, offering the most relevant services and implementing changes affecting the service delivery. This initiative also prioritizes communication with the most appropriate third parties, including other departments and agencies, as needed.

Employment and Social Development Canada and the Revenue Agency of Canadasupported by Statistics Canada and Indigenous Services Canada, have also worked on several joint projects, including the provision of services in the Northern Service Centres, the establishment of super clinics throughout the Canada and the use of special tax forms for Aboriginal people. It is planned to continue and expand this work.

That being said, the government recognizes that more needs to be done in terms of engaging some Aboriginal communities to help them access services, including the need to have staff on site to help Indigenous people on and off reserve to navigate processes and tools.

In addition, the government recognizes that those who are most vulnerable or hardest to reach do not always participate in current data collection processes, such as the census or tax filing. So we need to find other ways to ensure that as many Canadians as possible are able to register for services, benefits and supports.

There is always work to do and we are actively engaging our partners to explore ways to expand our collaboration to plan, measure and better deliver our services.

Quotes

“We continue to look for other ways to measure the registration of those to whom our activities are directed. However, the gap in response cannot always be accurately measured because eligibility for benefits relies on regular filing of tax returns, which many hard-to-reach groups do not have to do. or simply do not want to do. With respect to audit findings, we will continue our work to quantify the impact of our efforts at the individual and community level. And we will ensure that our performance measures are complementary to those used by the CRA. »

The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honorable Karina Gould

“Benefits and credits can make a huge difference in people’s lives, and Canada Revenue Canada works hard to provide information on this subject and ensure that the population has access to it. We have received recommendations from the Auditor General aimed at improving our services to hard-to-reach populations. As Minister of National Revenue, my top priority is to have a fair tax system where every eligible person, hard to reach or not, can receive the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. »

The Minister of National Revenue, the Honorable Diane Lebouthillier

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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: For all media inquiries, please contact: Mohammad Hussain, Office of the Minister for Families, Children and Social Development, the Honorable Karina Gould, [email protected]; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]; Chris MacMillan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Revenue, the Honorable Diane Lebouthillier, 343-540-6066; Media Relations, Canada Revenue Agency, 613-948-8366, [email protected]

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