Tax Law Services Prairie Region
July 2011

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.

We found that the TLS – Prairie Region 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. The TLS – Prairie Regional Director stated that the deputy regional directors from all portfolios within the Prairie Region meet once a month to discuss operational issues within their area of responsibility. The TLS – Prairie Regional Director also participates in the Prairie Management Team (PMT) teleconference meeting every Monday, which includes representation from all portfolios in the Prairie Region. The Acting RDG stated that TLS – Prairie Region’s communications with other sectors of the Department is appropriate. He further stated that there are strong litigators within TLS – Prairie Region who are sharing litigating techniques and best practices with other sectors. This is a good practice he hopes to see continue.

The audit team also found that TLS – Prairie Region management use informal channels of communication with other portfolios in the Prairie Region, most often to discuss administrative matters such as human resources and funding.

It is our opinion that the TLS – Prairie Region has appropriate interfaces with other Department of Justice sectors.

7.2 Client Departments

Interfaces with the Canada Revenue Agency are appropriate.

Strong client relationships are built on a foundation of effective communication. Positive interfaces with clients allows for the efficient sharing of information between parties, enabling appropriate and timely action to be taken.

From our interviews with both TLS – Prairie Region and Portfolio Office personnel, as well as CRA personnel in the Prairie Region and the National Capital Region, we found that there is ongoing, continuous communication through formal and informal channels with CRA. The TLS – Prairie Region 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 – Prairie Regional Director meets with CRA every six to eight weeks to discuss ongoing case matters and any issues that may exist. The Director (Acting) regularly speaks with CRA management in the Prairie Region and meets in person with CRA at least twice a year. Both TLS – Prairie Region senior management and CRA personnel stated that ad hoc meetings also take place whenever they are needed and that both parties use the phone or email to seek guidance/information whenever it is required.

We found that the number of meetings and committees in place, each with its own specific purpose, objectives, and expected outcomes, have increased efficient communications and effective direction in the normal day-to-day course of business.

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