Minister Lebouthillier opens three Canada Revenue Agency Northern Service Centres
February 11, 2019 Yellowknife Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) takes pride in serving millions of Canadians each and every year, from coast to coast to coast. The CRA is committed to improving access to its services for all individuals and businesses, regardless of their location, by putting people first.
Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, was in Yellowknife to announce the opening of three new Northern Service Centres (NSCs) in Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit. These NSCs will give Territorial residents, including Indigenous peoples, and businesses better access to tax services.
Deb Schulte, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, was present for the opening of the Iqaluit centre, and the Honourable Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon attended the opening of the Whitehorse centre. They were joined by members of the Indigenous community and other stakeholders, together sharing in the progress made to improve the CRA’s services across the Territories.
The NSCs will bring a year-round, in-person CRA presence to the Territories to expand outreach, the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), and Liaison Officer (LO) activities. They will be co-located with Service Canada in each of the Territorial capitals. There will also be dedicated phone lines for individuals and businesses to discuss their tax affairs with CRA employees familiar with northern tax matters. Together, these services will encourage the uptake of benefits and credits, support access to free tax preparation clinics, and help small businesses and self-employed individuals navigate the tax system. Each location will be supported by three full-time employees to deliver these services throughout the Territories.
The NSCs are a key component of the Northern Service Improvement Strategy developed to ensure that Territorial residents, including Indigenous peoples, and businesses are able to participate fully in the Canadian tax and benefit system. As part of this strategy, the CRA held Serving You Better consultations in cities across Canada, including Iqaluit, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife, to hear the views of small and medium businesses and accountants in fall 2018. In addition, the Government of Canada has improved the information it provides on the Northern residents deductions and how to claim them. The CRA has also released a summary of potential regulatory changes to reduce the administrative burden associated with the lowest return airfare element of the deductions. A more detailed consultation paper describing the regulatory proposal will be released in the coming year.
These improved and expanded services in Canada’s Territories include:
- year-round, in-person presence throughout the Territories to provide tax support to individuals and businesses in their own communities;
- CRA staff dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits, credits and deductions that individuals may be entitled to through in-person outreach information sessions;
- more Community Volunteer Income Tax Program clinics, where volunteers file income tax returns free of charge for individuals with a modest income and simple tax situation;
- an expanded Liaison Officer capacity to conduct on-site books and records reviews for businesses and self-employed individuals, as well as seminars adapted to include specific issues related to carrying-on business in the North and Territorial taxes; and
- dedicated phone lines to connect individuals and businesses with CRA employees who are familiar with northern tax issues.
“We know that individuals and businesses in Canada’s Territories face unique circumstances. The CRA is committed to addressing the barriers faced by individuals and small businesses when it comes to filing their tax returns. Today we respond to these concerns by opening a Northern Service Centre in each Territorial capital. Canadians in the Territories will now have access to year-round services that will help them meet their tax obligations and access the benefits and credits to which they are entitled.”
-The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
“We recognize the essential role of small businesses in creating jobs and supporting the economy in northern Canada. After hearing about the challenges faced by these businesses, I am thrilled that we are now responding by expanding our Liaison Officer program in the Territories and opening three Northern Service Centres from which to serve them. Now, even more business owners in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut will have access to in-person support to help them meet their tax obligations and access benefits.”
– Deb Schulte, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue
“The government is committed to improving the lives of all Canadians, which includes ensuring they have the support they need to file a tax return and receive important benefits and credits. I’m very pleased to see this much-needed service being brought to all three Territories, and I look forward to continuing to work to help ensure these Canadians get the services and support they need.”
– The Honourable Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon
“I’m pleased to know that many of our communities in the North, especially those in remote locations, will benefit from more support when it comes to getting answers to tax-related questions and getting access to benefits. These Northern Service Centres, and the work their employees will be doing across the Territories, will increase access to tax help for both our residents and our businesses.”
– Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories
Office of the Minister of National Revenue
Canada Revenue Agency