CRA employees need better unconscious bias training for charity audits: watchdog

Click to play video: 'Toronto charity denies spreading “revolutionary ideology”'
Toronto charity denies spreading “revolutionary ideology”
WATCH - Toronto charity denies spreading "revolutionary ideology" – Feb 14, 2019

The federal taxpayers’ ombudsperson is recommending better unconscious bias training for employees of the Canada Revenue Agency’s charities directorate.

In a report Monday on the fairness of the audit process for registered charities, Francois Boileau says the training should be mandatory for all employees involved in the audit process, including decision-makers.

However, Boileau says that due to obstacles in accessing relevant information, he could not examine the issues “deeply enough” to assess the existence of bias in how the revenue agency applies its processes.

Following her participation in a national summit in 2021 on Islamophobia, Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier asked Boileau to conduct a systemic review of the concerns of Muslim-led charities about their treatment by the revenue agency.

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Boileau says it is clear that additional powers would have provided his office with more access to the information it needed to conduct a comprehensive examination in this case.

For example, he says, the office could have been given additional powers under the Inquiries Act.

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