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Thursday, December 9, 2021

CRA did not provide ‘adequate’ info to users with locked accounts: Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson

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OTTAWA —
The department responsible for holding the Canada Revenue Agency accountable for its services says it appears the agency did not initially provide “adequate” information to individuals whose accounts were recently locked due to an external threat.

The Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson says that based on public reports, “the lack of information on what occurred caused concern and confusion both to the individual taxpayer and to the general public.”

Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson Francois Boileau has launched a review into the communication or lack thereof on the matter.

Last week the CRA issued a statement explaining that some users’ accounts were locked after an internal analysis found user credentials may be in the hands of “unauthorized” individuals outside of the organization.

They added that information like user IDs and passwords were obtained “through a variety of means by sources external to the CRA.”

The move had also prompted a notification from the CRA informing some users that their email address had been removed from their account, causing a flurry of concern and confusion online.

The office has so far observed that many  “encountered difficulties reaching the CRA to unlock their My Account, or to obtain more information about the situation” and that the office has received an uptick in complaints.

“When My Account users were locked out, the CRA should have been ready with a clear and useful communication strategy, to prevent an increase in calls from worried and frustrated taxpayers,” the press release reads.

The CRA maintains that it’s in the process of contacting impacted account holders to unlock their accounts and has stressed that calling the agency is unnecessary, unless those targeted are applicants of the government’s emergency COVID-19 benefits with active applications.

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