PEI

Changes coming to CRA tax centres as agency moves to 'streamline processing'

The Canada Revenue Agency office in Summerside, P.E.I., will grow in size under a new structure designed to streamline processing activities.

Canada Revenue Agency says it will disperse some jobs from Ottawa tax centres

The Canada Revenue Agency says only about 16 per cent of Canadians filed their tax returns by paper in 2016. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The Canada Revenue Agency office in Summerside, P.E.I., will be adding jobs under a new structure designed to streamline processing activities.

Some work from two specialized Ottawa sites will gradually be consolidated to CRA's seven other processing centres, which the federal government says will all grow in size.

Four of the centres — Summerside, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ont., and Jonquière, Que. — will now specialize in processing, the CRA said.

The other three — Surrey, B.C., Shawinigan, Que., and St. John's — will be converted to National Verification and Collections Centres.

More people filing taxes online

The CRA said it launched the Service Renewal Initiative on Thursday to adapt to the growing needs of Canadians who are filing their taxes online.

In 2016, approximately 16 per cent of Canadians filed their tax returns on paper — about a 66 per cent drop in just over 10 years, the agency said.

The CRA said it will hire more staff to provide faster, more efficient processing and better handling of calls to call centres. For Summerside, that could mean up to 70 additional "full-time equivalent" positions, CRA said.

Union says it wasn't consulted

However, the CRA said there will be job losses in Ottawa, and the Toronto call centre will be closed and consolidated to other sites.

The union representing CRA workers said the movement of work and displacement of workers will affect more than 2,300 of its members. It says management showed a "lack of respect" for not consulting the union before making the announcement.

"Management certainly has the right to reassign work and redistribute resources, but if they had consulted with the union, we may have been able to provide information and suggestions that could have lessened the effects on our members' lives," UTE national president Robert Campbell said in a statement.

"We will be diligent in ensuring that all of our members' rights are respected and we will try to mitigate the number of term jobs that are lost."

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