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Huge Tax Filing Problem Creating Voter Cards for Non-Citizens

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Our office has uncovered a major Canada Revenue Agency & Elections Canada information sharing problem as a result of tax software many practitioners used (including us) in the past. This major glitch is resulting in voter cards being sent to non-citizens this year’s Alberta election.

If you check “NO” for the question “Are you a Canadian Citizen” the software is supposed to automatically leave the next question about Elections Canada blank when you file the return or at a minimum, flag as an error.

Even if it goes through, the CRA system should be able to recognize that they answered “NO” to the Citizen question, and should not forward information to Elections Canada.

Neither of these scenarios happened.

As a result, many permanent resident, non-citizens, are getting voter cards this year.

Below are images from my non-citizen client – both what they received (voter card) and what was actually filed on their return back in 2015. I have redacted the personal information to protect the innocent.

I’ve also tried entering the information in both our old software from our old provider, and our new software from our new provider, and the same results occur.

The problem is that there is no way for tax practitioners to reverse this in the future either. Once the CRA has sent info to Elections Canada, there is no way to remove it and say they shouldn’t have.

If you override and check “NO”, that means that Elections Canada can’t receive new info. If you override and check “YES”, then CRA & Elections Canada assume you are a citizen, even when you clearly have checked the NO box in the citizen form.

In essence, the “Are you a Canadian Citizen” question on the tax return is irrelevant. The real question is next one asking if they should send information to Elections Canada, because if they say yes, they are registered to vote and get a voter card.

This is a HUGE problem for potential voter fraud and needs to be fixed!


Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr is the President & Founder of CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors; you can find out more about Cory’s biography at http://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html

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Everyone’s invited to World Refugee Day Community Dinner

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Please join us at our World Refugee Day Event on June 22nd from 4pm – 7pm. Speakers, entertainment, community dinner. Children’s activities. Come and welcome some of the people who came here under refugee status and make new friends.

We are commemorating the day on June 22 at Gaetz United Church – Pioneer Hall.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to the refugees in our community. World Refugee Day offers an opportunity for everyone to show support for people forced to flee.

The event is free.

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Alberta

Alberta paving the way for newcomers to get to work

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From the Government of Alberta: Ensuring fairness for newcomers

Bill 11, the Fair Registration Practices Act, will help newcomers get their credentials recognized, so they can quickly get to work in their fields to help grow the economy and create jobs.

The act is a key part of the government’s Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan.

Highly trained immigrant professionals can sometimes spend years jumping through regulatory hoops while their skills atrophy.

This can result in a significant loss of economic productivity for the Alberta economy. If passed, the Fair Registration Practices Act would cut red tape, remove barriers, speed up the process where possible, hold professional bodies accountable, and increase fairness and transparency.

Our goal is to get all Albertans back to work. Too often, we hear stories of ‘doctors driving cabs’ syndrome – and we are taking action to make sure newcomers’ credentials are evaluated and assessed objectively and in a timely manner.” Jason Kenney, Premier

“It’s important for Alberta’s professional bodies to maintain high professional standards while allowing qualified newcomers to fully contribute to our economy. And not only that, giving newcomers the chance to pursue the careers they’ve trained for is, simply put, the right thing to do.” Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

“The settlement sector in Alberta has been advocating for fair recognition of newcomer qualifications for decades. The proven detrimental impact of underemployment of newcomer professionals is felt not only within their own families, but throughout society as well. We are certain that fair recognition of credentials will improve the quality of life of all Albertans, and are grateful this legislation is being introduced so quickly by the new government.” Anila Lee Yuen, president & CEO, Centre for Newcomers

The proposed bill would:

  • Provide the authority to create a Fair Registration Practices Office.
  • Reduce the red tape associated with the assessment of foreign credentials.
  • Work with regulators to ensure registration practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.
  • Maintain Alberta’s high professional standards.

Bill 11 would require regulatory bodies to:

  • Assess applications and communicate assessment decisions within specific time frames for interim registration decisions and within reasonable time frames for final registration decisions.
  • Submit reports regarding fair registration practices to the minister responsible for the act.

“ASET is the regulator of engineering and geoscience technology practice in Alberta, and is committed to fully objective criteria for certification, and a level playing field for all applicants. Having long since adopted high standards of fairness in our admissions practices, ASET applauds the initiative for fair assessment of all applicants.” Barry Cavanaugh, CEO, Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta

If passed, the legislation would come into force on proclamation.

Quick facts

  • According to the Conference Board of Canada, Canadians would earn up to $17 billion more annually if their learning credentials were fully recognized.
    • Immigrants are the largest group, with an estimated 524,000 international credential holders affected by a lack of learning recognition.
  • Provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia already have fairness legislation to ensure that professional regulatory organizations have fair registration practices.
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june, 2019

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