Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that Canadians receive the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. This commitment includes seeing that new Canadians have the information they require to understand the benefits and credits for which they may qualify as well as their tax obligations. The CRA is working hard to deliver services that make tax filing accessible and to ensure that the system is fair.
Members can appreciate, I am sure, that for newcomers to Canada, there is a lot to learn as they get settled in a new country. It is with this understanding that the CRA is part of a multi-departmental effort to provide information to refugees on tax filing and benefit entitlements upon their arrival in Canada. The CRA works closely with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to ensure that all benefit-related questions are answered and also aims to quickly resolve any problematic cases that arise. I know that some of the most rewarding work we do in our constituency office is helping those who have been wrongfully denied the benefits they are owed.
The CRA's work does not stop there, though. It is important to ensure that newcomers know about the benefits they may be eligible for, such as the Canada child benefit, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, and provincial and territorial programs. However, it is most important that newcomers understand that it is by filing their tax returns, even in cases where they have no income, that they can access credits and benefits for which they may be eligible. This is why the CRA actively promotes the awareness of benefits to newcomers through various information materials and in-person outreach activities.
The community volunteer income tax program is a CRA program that supports community organizations and their volunteers in hosting tax preparation clinics, where modest-income individuals, including newcomers, can have their taxes done for free. Indeed, we offer this service. One of my staff members, Betty MacDonald, in Antigonish, actually does this as part of the CRA volunteer program.
The CRA has produced a number of promotional and information materials for newcomers in various languages that are digital and paper based. Designed for a broad audience, these products include a newcomers fact sheet, a newcomers promotional card, a newcomers poster and an eight-part video series entitled “Newcomers to Canada and the Canadian Tax System”.
Having the materials available is one thing, but making sure that the information reaches the people who need it is another. It is why the CRA works with Canada's vast immigrant services network, including outreach through national, provincial, regional and community organizations, to share products and information.
Budget 2018 provided additional funding to the CRA to increase its outreach activities and the reach of the program I described earlier to help more vulnerable individuals access the benefits and credits designed to support them.
In addition to making sure that people have access to the services they need, the CRA is supportive of Canadians seeking to comply with their tax obligations. It provides newcomers with information, in a multitude of languages, to understand what is required of them and to help them settle into a new life in Canada.
I will note, in particular, that the hon. member raised certain concerns about tax loopholes for wealthy corporations. We have put forward a number of measures, particularly in our last federal budget, to combat this kind of activity to ensure that our tax system is fair, helps those in need and makes sure that those who are eligible for certain benefits receive them in a timely way.