Policy Forum: Should the Canada Revenue Agency Also Be a Social Benefits Agency?

Canadian tax journal / revue fiscale canadienne (2021) 69:1, 87 - 98

12 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2021

See all articles by Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson

Carleton University - Faculty of Public Affairs and Management

Saul Schwartz

Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Written: April 2021

Abstract

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) plays an important role in the delivery of benefits to Canadians, but should that role be expanded? The speed and ease with which several new income benefits were launched by the CRA during the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted the question of whether the agency should take on a much larger role as a social benefits agency, in addition to tax collector. We review the arguments for and against, noting important weaknesses that already impair the CRA's current role in benefit delivery and that would be exacerbated in an expanded role. On balance, we conclude that an expanded role is not the better choice. We suggest that the CRA might instead enhance one of its strengths—collecting and sharing information—so that other agencies can more effectively administer benefits not directly tied to the tax system.

Keywords: Canada Revenue Agency, benefits, administration

Suggested Citation

Robson, Jennifer and Schwartz, Saul, Policy Forum: Should the Canada Revenue Agency Also Be a Social Benefits Agency? (April 2021). Canadian tax journal / revue fiscale canadienne (2021) 69:1, 87 - 98, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3822622

Jennifer Robson (Contact Author)

Carleton University - Faculty of Public Affairs and Management ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada

Saul Schwartz

Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

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