Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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Bob Hamilton
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Bob Hamilton
2018-12-11 9:23
Mr. Chair, I think very definitely that the chief service officer will help with the kind of perception you have talked about, which I don't like to hear about, frankly. I don't want people being treated like criminals on phone calls, as a starting point. The conversations may evolve down the road depending on how things go—people have to face the consequences of their actions—but we are very much about changing the culture at CRA, as I've said, to being a service provided to the taxpayer and the client.
What I would like to see us do and what we are doing, and where the chief service officer will help, is focusing more on the conversations about educating both sides of the conversation. For us it's making sure that we're explaining to Canadians what they need to do and why. Sometimes, because we deal with so many people, those can be shortcut conversations. They can be abrupt. We're trying to make sure that they are not, that they are fulsome explanations for people. That takes time and resources, but we need to do that to fulfill our service commitments.
We are also going to be paying attention to the feedback we get—because we hear some of the same things that you hear—and make sure that we listen to it, as I've said, but also to try to factor in what we can do about it, how we can correct those issues.
It's not to say that there will never ever be an issue at the CRA, but we need to make sure that we're correcting as many of them as possible, and that as many people as possible feel like they are being treated fairly and respectfully by the CRA. I would want that to be the case in every single interaction that we have.
When we talk about service culture, though, it isn't just the people picking up the phone and talking to you. That's obviously an important element of service, but we are also trying to embed a service culture within the audit and enforcement activities. Yes, we will ultimately need to make sure that the proper amount of taxes are paid, but we need to go about it in a way that tries to educate first. Let's make sure that there's an understanding and work through it, and that way maybe get some long-term compliance. If people understand the obligations and we understand their situation, hopefully we can get on a path of long-term compliance.
Having said that, if there are still issues, we will have to enforce the law and make sure that the proper taxes are paid, because that too is important, for the perception of fairness by other Canadians.
I'm very confident that the chief service officer is going to help us refocus our efforts to provide better service to Canadians. Some of the changes have started, but I look forward to even more changes down the road.
Roger Gauthier
View Roger Gauthier Profile
Roger Gauthier
2018-09-27 12:01
Part of it is political. Services were streamlined. Some offices were closed. Bilingual staff was not necessarily hired, even though Saskatchewan has a fairly large number of bilingual people, on both the francophone and anglophone side. At least 4% of Saskatchewan's population is bilingual. Of that, 1.4% are francophone and the rest participated in an immersion program. After taking an immersion program, people do not necessarily stay in Saskatchewan. Many of our francophones, who are qualified people, move away because they cannot advance in their career.
There are many factors that play a role, but the fact remains that the services are not there.
View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you for coming, Mr. Thibeau.
You were talking about issues of outreach and about our needing to get better services out to people in isolated areas in the north and, for the services that are available to them, getting the information to them. Have you any suggestions for us as to how we can do that?
Robert Thibeau
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Robert Thibeau
2018-05-22 11:28
Initially when I started four years ago talking about the rangers, it was great news to me that the army had finally taken over the ranger program. That's a very unique program, and it should have been under the army because the rangers are doing army work. That gave them the ability to become and to be classed as reserve soldiers, therefore providing them with Veterans Affairs services, etc.
One of the things for communications—I worked a bit in the north visiting communities and teaching up there—is that there was already a connection up there with the military. The military travels the north quite extensively.
We have a suicide prevention program between DND and VAC. I've brought this up before. Is there a possibility for the senior NCOs or the NCOs who visit these communities to have a sit-down with the veterans of that community and talk about the benefits that Veterans Affairs has? In other words, can we design a package that you can take up north into each community? That's a start, but for that outreach, some of the communities there may not be.... There may be veterans in other communities. The army probably looks after only those communities where they have those rangers who come in, and there may be other communities out there that don't have the access.
I really get troubled when I start thinking about the Internet. I talked to a young Mohawk out there. When he was up in the north, if you got Internet, you were working on slow time, very slow time. That's if you have it. Some communities in the first nations, I believe, may not have the ability to have it, because they're so far into the remote area. If they do have it, it may be in only one location and there's a priority of use.
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2018-05-08 12:53
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Gentlemen, thank you both very much for being here and for the good work you're doing in Saskatchewan. It's really appreciated. Your testimony here today will, I'm sure, lead to some recommendations that we can make to the government to ensure that indigenous veterans are getting better services and more recognition for the incredible military service that indigenous people have given to our country.
Mr. Highway, I'll start with you. You mentioned some of the new programs that are now in place for veterans that were not available when you left the forces back in the 1960s, or whenever it was you were in the service and then left.
You mentioned education and training benefit, help with resumé writing, career assistance, help for families, and the caregiver recognition benefit. All of this is important work. Is there any difference that you see with the delivery of those types of services for indigenous veterans in particular that we should be aware of? Do you think it's just as important to make sure that every person, whether they are an indigenous person living on reserve, off reserve, or Métis, is aware of those services? Do you think there's any difference in how the government should be delivering those services to indigenous people?
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2018-05-08 12:56
If the Department of Veterans Affairs consulted with your organization, for example, and others across the country to find out how they could improve that service delivery model to indigenous veterans, do you think that would be welcomed by your association?
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2018-05-08 12:56
What's your view of how that office is performing right now, as far as its service delivery to veterans in Saskatchewan?
Emile Highway
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Emile Highway
2018-05-08 12:56
I believe it is required. I think more aboriginal veterans should be made aware of the existence of that office in Saskatoon, so they can access what the office is doing to help them fill out application forms and answer any questions they might have. I think it's necessary that it be there.
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2018-05-08 12:57
It should proactively make sure they are getting the services and programs they are entitled to, rather than sitting back and waiting for indigenous veterans to come to them. Would you agree with that?
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2018-05-08 12:57
Chief Ross, is there a difference in how services are accessed by indigenous veterans living on reserve or off reserve? Is there a relationship between VAC with any bands, for example, in Saskatchewan, and how they deliver their services?
Steven Ross
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Steven Ross
2018-05-08 12:58
I don't think there's a difference. I think the problem for first nations veterans, wherever they might be, is knowing where to go. There's an office in Saskatoon, and that should be where they are going, but at the same time, the office doesn't know where the veterans are. That's one of the problems: communication and direction.
But there is no difference that I'm aware of.
Jessica McDonald
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Jessica McDonald
2018-04-17 11:57
For sure. I mean, as I say, there is a very active environment inside Canada Post looking at the strategic options: what our customers need, how our assets are currently being used, and where our investment in network expansion will be put, as well as what that means in terms of downtime in some of our plants and how we may be able to better utilize our entire system. Whether it is alternate day delivery, weekend delivery, or any of the other aspects, these are all always part of the strategic analysis inside Canada Post.
I do imagine that some of these elements, and maybe other ideas as well, will also come up in our discussions toward a new collective agreement, and I look forward to more creative discussion and more ideas about how we can use the system we have and support employees to be successful in continuing to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.
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