Tax Law Services Ottawa Section
7. Observations – Interfaces with other justice sectors and client departments
7.1 Other Justice Sectors
Interfaces with other Department of Justice sectors are appropriate.
In an organization, strong and effective business relations between functioning units help contribute to an efficient and cohesive operation. Dynamic interfaces allow managers throughout an organization to be kept well informed as to the current events impacting each unit and help facilitate the sharing of ideas, expertise, and best practices.
The TLS – Ottawa Section maintains open communication channels with other portfolios in the Department. Formal channels of communication are used with other portfolios when tax issues impact other areas of the Canadian legal system such as human rights and aboriginal affairs. Draft documents are often sent to other portfolios for comments and direction with respect to recent court precedents and developments related to a given portfolio’s area of legal expertise. TLS – Ottawa Section management also use informal channels of communication with other portfolios in the Department, most often to discuss such matters as human resources and funding.
In addition, the TLS – Ottawa Section’s membership on various regional and Portfolio level committees provides numerous and sufficient communication mechanisms with other regional and headquarters sectors.
It is our opinion that the TLS – Ottawa Section has appropriate interfaces with other Department of Justice sectors.
7.2 Client Department
Interfaces with the Canada Revenue Agency are appropriate.
Strong client relationships are built on a foundation of effective communication. Sufficient and timely interfaces with clients allow for the efficient sharing of information between parties and enables appropriate and timely action to be taken.
From our interviews with both TLS – Ottawa Section and CRA personnel, we found that there is ongoing, continuous communication through regular committee meetings. The TLS – Ottawa Section and the CRA have a joint Risk Management Committee that meets quarterly to discuss risk-related items with respect to ongoing and new files. Meetings occur more frequently when workload demands it. A pre-risk meeting is scheduled with CRA to track new cases as they come in. The TLS – Ottawa Section Director, Deputy Director, ADAG, and Associate ADAGs meet bi-weekly with CRA to discuss ongoing case matters and any issues that may exist. There is also a joint Adverse Decision Committee, which includes the Associate ADAGs and the CRA Assistant Commissioner as members. This committee discusses issues and decisions involving appeals for files in the Ottawa Section and other regional TLS sections. Both the ADAG and the Associate ADAG advised the audit team that they believe that these committees are efficient and address all areas of TLS operations, providing sufficient direction and leadership to regional sections including the Ottawa Section.
We found that the number of committees in place, each with its own specific purpose, objectives, and expected outcomes, as well as the TLS – Ottawa Section’s membership and direct involvement in these committees increased efficient communications and effective direction in the normal day-to-day course of business.
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