Message from the Executive Director

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April 2020

Hello to all CTF members—

This month, I would like to share with you some details from the recent update I provided to our Board of Governors, on current activity at the Canadian Tax Foundation and our planning for the coming months.

Our primary focus over the last few weeks has been the rapidly evolving federal, provincial, and judicial COVID-19 measures that affect the tax community. At the time of the first official announcements (which already feels like ages ago), we established a dedicated section on our website and posted all of the information there, with links to the source material. We continue to update this site almost daily, and we are also leveraging social media and email blasts as additional channels of timely communication.

With the enactment of Bills C-13 and C-14, we increased our collaboration with government and other tax and professional organizations, notably CPA Canada and the CBA, with a view to sharing the concerns of our members and their clients and to working toward potential solutions. Bruce Ball (VP Tax of CPA Canada) and Angelo Nikolakakis (Chair of the Tax Section of the CBA) have been tireless collaborators, as have many others who have generously volunteered their time and professional expertise. We also encouraged you, our members, to share your thoughts, and the response from you was considerable and helpful. The issues relating to various aspects of the economic relief package (notably the CEWS program) were gathered and consolidated, and we are now working to provide guidance and resolve issues as expeditiously as possible. Your input—which has provided us with real-life examples of individual scenarios, along with practical suggestions—has been an invaluable part of this process. Please continue to share your thoughts with us; much work lies ahead.

I would also like to acknowledge here the remarkable contribution of our civil service in designing and implementing the COVID-19 economic relief package, including the technology required to deliver the relief programs, at an unprecedented pace. Although some in the business community were impatient, our government’s early focus on the most vulnerable Canadians, particularly through the CERB, was important.

Regular client work continues for most tax practitioners, in addition to their unaccustomed work of assessing the impact of the COVID-19 economic package. For many of you, it is currently the busy season, which poses some extra challenges this year—working from home, interacting remotely with colleagues and clients, adapting to new technology, and managing child care and home schooling.

The team at the Foundation, also adapting to this new reality, is committed to continue supporting you in your professional practice during these challenging times. Our librarians are available to provide you with virtual research assistance and with access to various resources and tax literature. If you need them for phone or email support, they can be reached through our website. Regular updates to TaxFind also continue uninterrupted, and our newsletters and the Canadian Tax Journal are publishing on schedule (albeit in digital format alone, since the printer is currently closed).

Of course, one area calling for dramatic change is our conferences program. Our initial optimism of a month ago, when we hoped that our regular conference schedule might resume in the fall, has been replaced by the hard realization that both health concerns and economic circumstances dictate a different path.

We have gathered considerable feedback over the last few weeks. With it, we have developed an innovative plan to deliver timely, high-quality tax programming to our members across Canada, in a flexible, affordable format—an approach that reflects the Foundation’s core mission and our responsibility, which we take very seriously, to invest in and support our members in difficult times. I look forward to sharing the details with you soon.

As always, I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

See you next month.

Heather L. Evans,
Executive Director and CEO