CRA worker suspended 30 days for not changing with the times

Procedures for providing help and preferential treatment for colleagues and relatives changed with customer service changes, but worker was slow to change with them
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/06/2019

A 30-day suspension to a federal tax worker for not following new policies and procedures for accessing tax information was excessive discipline, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board has ruled.

Andre Michaud worked for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) starting in 1994 as a client information officer at a regional tax services office in Eastern Quebec. His job involved answering the questions of taxpayers who came to the office needing assistance. Usually, to provide assistance, he accessed taxpayers’ files after confirming their identity — or confirming power of attorney if the individual was there on behalf of another taxpayer.

Every year, Michaud and other CRA employees received a reminder to review CRA’s Code of Ethics and Conduct along with its Conflict of Interest Policy and Guidelines, which included warnings against unauthorized access of taxpayer information — especially the tax information of friends, relatives, acquaintences or an employee’s own information.