Message from the Executive Director

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June 2021


Hello to all CTF members—

This month I would like to update you on a few developments in our member services. I will start, however, with a request.

The Lifetime Contribution Award (LCA) is the most prestigious award conferred by the Canadian Tax Foundation. The purpose of the LCA is to celebrate and honour those individuals who, over the course of their careers, have made substantial and outstanding contributions to the Foundation through their volunteer efforts and body of work; and to inspire and encourage others to contribute in the same way. Each year, two recipients are chosen by a committee of their peers, ably guided by Bill McLagan, a former chair of the Foundation. The recipients are selected from nominations made by the tax community. Please take a moment to think of someone whom you would like to see recognized with this award, and send us your nomination. All of the details are on our website here.

I have previously mentioned our plans to continually enhance TaxFind—both the content and the functionality—and I’m pleased to tell you that work is now underway on the next round of improvements. We know how important this tool is to our members’ professional practices. The pandemic-driven increase in remote work and the pace of the practice of tax have reinforced the value of being able to readily access TaxFind’s high-quality content. In fact, our analytics indicate a year-over-year increase of approximately 20 percent in traffic to the TaxFind site.

The TaxFind project has three major goals: (1) to identify, develop, and implement new features (especially those requested by our users); (2) to consider recent advances in search technology that we should adopt; and (3) to ensure that our end-to-end publication process is as efficient as possible, so that we get our content to you more quickly. We are also guided by the overarching principle that busy professionals need to find the right information ever more quickly. One thing we know, in particular, is that the TaxFind interface needs to be more intuitive, and we will be addressing that challenge. We will also be adding more customization and collaboration tools, so that you can readily access additional content that supports your previous searches, and share that content effectively with colleagues.

Our plan is to roll out the improvements over the course of the summer. We will provide regular updates to you as features are added. As always, your feedback is welcome.

The Foundation has many resources beyond TaxFind that are available to members. The Douglas J. Sherbaniuk Research Centre is Canada’s premier library of current and historical materials on taxation, public finance, and fiscal policy. Our expansive online resources are complemented by the expert research support offered by our librarians. Demand for these services has also increased during the pandemic. In response, our library staff will be holding a series of free 30-minute instructional seminars for our members, starting this month and continuing through the fall. These sessions will highlight our online catalogue, our expanding digital resources, and the methods of using both our online and traditional collections. The first few sessions sold out very quickly, and we will be adding more. You can find all of the details on our website.

Finally, planning is well advanced for our fall conference program. Although our events will be virtual in 2021, we look forward to holding in-person gatherings again in 2022.

Our virtual conferences have been very successful, and we would like to preserve some features of the past year’s conference experience when we return to in-person delivery. One of the most important outcomes of our virtual conferences has been a meaningful increase in attendance—particularly from younger practitioners and from those in remote and rural regions of Canada. Expanding the availability of our excellent tax content is consistent with the Foundation’s mandate, and—however much we look forward to getting together again and networking at various conferences—we want to retain that broader connection in the future. The growth of our live webcasts (which were offered at our regional conferences in parallel with in-person attendance) suggests that even before the pandemic, considerable demand existed for different options.

There are important decisions to be made about the delivery model for our future conferences, and we would like our membership’s input to inform our thinking. Please look for the arrival of a message with a link to a short survey (also accessible here) in which you can share your past experiences and your future preferences, whether as a delegate, a speaker, or both.

See you next month.

 

Heather L. Evans,
Executive Director and CEO