Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you. Unfortunately, I hear those types of examples all too often. Those are the types of things that we obviously need to be looking at to try to address with regulatory compliance.
Mr. Achen, regarding the CRA, you raised an issue that is also one I hear so frequently. You mentioned, and I actually hadn't heard this statistic before, that we have five times the number of agents per capita in the CRA than does the IRS. I've heard that expressed in different ways before, about the thousands and thousands of agents that we have at CRA, yet when you make a phone call, you can never get any one of them on the phone. People always wonder how the heck it is possible, with all those people there, that you can't even get someone on the phone. Then they say, if you ever do get someone on the phone, you might talk to four different agents and get six or eight different opinions, so that's obviously a source of frustration.
I wonder if you might speak to the opportunity that's lost for our businesses, particularly our small businesses, when they're dealing with these types of compliance burdens with the CRA. Obviously the complicated nature of the tax code and the fact that even the CRA agents can't really give you a proper interpretation of it, what do those effects mean for our small businesses in terms of lost opportunity to be able to be competitive and to be able to grow their businesses, mentor employees and so on?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I have a limited amount of time. Specifically, from an opportunity cost perspective, the government is investing—spending—$51 million worth of tax dollars and assuming oversight and, ostensibly, liability related to an arm's-length profession that exists to interpret difficulties in an existing government system.
I'm wondering if there was any opportunity cost analysis done to apply that $51 million to ease service delivery specifically related to this particular expenditure?
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Nuttall. You have 10 seconds, but I'll take it.
Did you ever ask CRA, when you were given false information, if you could have that answer in writing? I've been told by constituents—and it's probably happened to us—that when you're on the phone after finally getting through, after being blocked so many times, when you get the information, all you have is really your word against somebody else's, because it's on the phone.
Would you ever ask if you could have that answer in an email or in writing?
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Again, the point I was trying to get at was the reciprocity of how we are engaged in that compared with our competitors. I think that was the point being brought out.
The second thing I want to talk about is this. Industry, Science and Technology is about to study rural and remote Internet access and service and so on.
BDC and EDC, when you look at your customers, are there aspects of this that you feel we should be working to improve? I know from when we were down in the U.S. with that committee that the U.S. has the same issue there.
Ms. Glenn, could you perhaps fill us in a bit there?
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2017-10-31 12:27
Okay. Thank you.
One of the other things you talked about is the multi-ethnic part of banking that you try to work at. One of the things in the community that I am from is that we have a very diverse community, probably one of the most diverse in Canada. I found the banks responded to that first in the sense that immediately you saw front-line staff from different ethnicities, and you saw them moving into management positions very quickly.
The one really interesting thing I saw was that in our health system we were having real problems in our ERs with the different languages. I went into a bank and I saw people of different ethnicities being taken back to talk on a phone. The bank had established a network in which they could get 200 languages online within two minutes. The private sector, your banking industry, did that quicker.
Do you have examples of where your banking industry has moved to do things like that?
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
John, I want to thank you for your service to your country and to the greater good of allied forces. I really appreciate it. Whether you know it or not, you've kept Canadians and people all around the world safe. I want to thank you, sir.
I want to ask you a question about equality of services. In Canada, one thing that comes up quite frequently is the frustration that veterans feel. Some of them are from smaller communities and are more isolated. You, sir, are from a very large metropolitan centre. Your organization is doing great work for a large number of veterans where you have a critical mass and where it makes sense to do so.
How would a veteran who is, say, returning to Knox City, Gorey, or O'Donnell, Texas, find the level of services that they get there, and what would your organization be able to do in the context of providing equity of services for somebody who doesn't live within the region?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Yes, thank you.
Mr. Arnold, your country has a very organized immigration system. We know that. You have dedicated visa subclasses for skilled visa, family visa, parent visa, etc. I'm wondering if you could comment or maybe expand upon the effectiveness of implementing these specific subclasses for visas and how that has improved your client service delivery.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Could you expand upon that a bit? What are some of the experiences you've had? What is the impetus in terms of looking at condensing the number of classes as that relates to client service delivery? Where is the right balance? I would say that also having very vague characteristics makes it difficult to apply, too, so in your experience, where would you see that right mix?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Have you had to deal with instances where you perhaps have had one applicant apply through different streams writ large, even if it's for citizenship or whatnot? How has your country dealt with that?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
For example, let's say that in Canada you're applying for citizenship and you're applying under different classes or different programs. Sometimes that gums up the amount of resources it takes to process these applications.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
My next question, just before I had it over to Mr. Tilson, is for Ms. Desloges.
In previous studies that we've had at committee, you've talked very briefly about how current immigration laws already allow officials to apply discretion in exceptional circumstances, essentially talking about section 25. I just want to give you a quick opportunity to talk about this in terms of service delivery. Because it is such a nebulous process, could you see improvements in triggering that process from a service delivery perspective?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Madam Chair. What a great chair you are.
This is for Mr. Kurland. I want to ask you a few questions around the electronic travel authorization. You've been in the media around this recently, in March with CBC. You noted that the rules and exemptions are more complex than officials would have travellers believe.
Bringing this discussion back to client services, in your experience, is there anything the government could be doing to better inform travellers of this requirement so that they're not sideswiped by the new rules?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Are you hearing anything else from your broader clientele in terms of issues with this particular program or with its introduction?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
Some of my colleagues have been bringing up a theme of interactions with MP offices when people are accessing consulting services and then require an MP to intervene. Is there anything the government can do to prevent the escalation of files to MP offices, as it relates to your line of business?
From my own personal experience, sometimes we get stuff referred from immigration consultants. There is really no consistency in how that happens. Even for us, as legislators who end up offering this service, is there anything that you can advise to us in terms of consistency on applying service at an MP level?
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