CRA Strike: Impacts & Updates
[MAY 4, 2023 UPDATE]: Last night, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reached a 4-year tentative agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada – Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE). Upon ratification, this agreement will apply to approximately 39,000 PSAC-UTE employees working at the CRA. Employees represented by PSAC-UTE will return to work this morning.
On Wednesday, April 19, 2023, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) declared a general strike. As a result, bargaining groups representing 159,000 public servants, including 39,000 employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), are on strike. With the 2022 personal tax filing deadline looming in the distance, the strike has raised many questions and concerns.
Below we answer the most frequently asked questions about how the CRA strike impacts Canadian personal tax filings. We will also provide updates as the negotiations continue.
Is the CRA going to extend the tax deadline?
At this time, the CRA has no plans to extend the tax filing deadline and will continue to accept all tax returns. We recommend that all Canadian taxpayers file their personal tax returns using digital online methods by May 1, 2023* (since April 30, 2023 falls on a Sunday) to avoid late filing penalties. *Note if you or your spouse/partner have earned self-employment income in 2022, the deadline for filing is June 15, 2023 (although the payment deadline remains May 1, 2023)
Will the CRA continue to process tax returns during the strike?
Throughout the strike, the CRA continues to accept all tax returns. Those that are filed online (which represent the vast majority of personal tax returns), will be processed automatically by CRA without delay. For paper filed tax returns, the CRA is currently not accepting courier deliveries and, therefore, we suggest to those who are unable to file online, to send in their paper returns by Canada Post registered mail (please keep the receipt for proof of mailing). If you’re unable to send the return by registered mail, regular first-class mail is your next best option.
How should I pay taxes due?
2022 personal taxes are due May 1, 2023 (since April 30, 2023 falls on a Sunday). It’s best to pay taxes owing online through your bank. If you want to pay them in person at the bank, you must have a personalized remittance form T7DR(A) which we will provide with your completed tax return. Either way, payments should be made no later than Friday, April 28, 2023 and in no event past Monday, May 1, 2023 in order to avoid interest charges (now 9% per annum compounded daily). For more information, visit Payments to the CRA: Make a payment for individuals.
Businesses have a number of options for paying their taxes. Please visit Payments to the CRA: Payment options for businesses for the complete list.
What services will be affected by the CRA strike?
There will be delays in processing some income tax and benefit returns, particularly those paper filed. There will also be increased wait times in CRA contact centres. Essential services that protect the safety and security of the public will continue to be delivered, such as:
- Canada child benefit (CCB) program
- Employment Insurance payments
- Canada Pension Plan payments
- Veterans’ income support
- Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement payments
Canadians should consult the Government of Canada’s Contact Us and Labour disruptions impact at the Canada Revenue Agency webpages for more information as the situation continues to evolve.
What should I do if I need to contact the CRA during the strike?
Many CRA services are delayed or unavailable. For the most current information, please visit the CRA Contact Us page.
Will I still receive my tax refund during the CRA strike?
If you file your taxes online and have set-up direct deposit through your CRA MyAccount, your refund should be processed automatically by CRA and a refund issued through direct deposit to your account.
Is there a way to avoid being affected by the CRA strike?
Tax returns that are filed online by May 1, 2023 should be processed automatically by CRA.
How long is the CRA strike expected to last?
There is currently no estimate of how long the strike will last. The duration of the strike will depend on how long bargaining between the PSAC and the Government of Canada will go on and how long it will take the two parties to reach an agreement.
Where can I get more information about the impacts of the CRA strike?
For more information on how the CRA Strike impacts you or your business, contact your DMCL advisor.
 Government of Canada. (2023, May). CRA/PSAC-UTE collective bargaining updates. Collective Bargaining. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/about-canada-revenue-agency-cra/collective-bargaining.html