One of the most challenging things for families that receive funding to support their children with autism, either under the School Age Autism Funding program from the provincial Department of Education, or from the Disability Support Program of the provincial Department of Family and Human Services, is the burden of being an “employer” as far as the federal government is concerned. This means registering for a business number, making monthly payroll deductions and remittances, filing T4s at the end of the year, and preparing a Record of Employment when a employee moves on.
For many families, raising a child with autism leaves little time in the day, and navigating the paperwork jungle to do all of this correctly requires skills that not everyone has. As a result, I imagine many families are left either not receiving funding that could help them, or receiving funding but not filing paperwork and leaving themselves open to penalty if they’re found out.
So far I’ve done okay on the payroll side: it’s something I do every month for work anyway, and so it’s not a huge burden, especially because I can do the filing online through my credit union, and because the Canada Revenue Agency has a “My Business” site that’s actually quite useful and, if you set aside the “let’s recreate the flow of a 1975 PDP-11 application” style of the interface, is relatively easy to use.
Today, however, I needed to prepare the paperwork for the first employee we’ve had that’s moved on to a new job, which requires preparing a Record of Employment. You would think that all I would need to do is to login to the “My Business” system using my existing account, click a few buttons, and grab the ROE.
But no. Not that.
The Record of Employment system turns out not to be a Canada Revenue Agency system at all; it’s a completely separate application, run by a completely separate department. So it’s a completely new day in terms of online registration.
Actually, it’s worse than that.
First I needed to get a GCKey, which they tell me is a single-sign-on for many government services but that which, for reasons unknown, is not the same account I use to login to “My Business.”
Getting a GCKey required filling in a form with my name, address, and phone, and then choosing 3 security questions and answers.
But that’s only the first step.
Next I needed to use my GCKey to register for “ROE Web,” which also required providing my name, address, phone and choosing 5 security questions and answers. At the end of that process I then used the other login I have, the one for “My Business,” to tie my new “ROE Web” account to my “My Business” account.
At which point I imagined I would be able to click a few buttons and grab the ROE.
Now I see a notice on the page:
An authorization code has been mailed to the business owner or chief executive officer at the address on file.
That’s right: now I need to wait for them to mail me an authorization code. Despite the fact that I’ve created a new GCKey account, and connected it to an existing “My Business” account that already establishes me as the “business owner.”
This makes no sense.
I’m 100% down with meeting my obligations to the federal government. I enjoy paying taxes. I think taxation is fair.
But I believe that the federal government owes me, at the very least, a painless way to meet these obligations: the system we have now is cumbersome and half-baked, and has the smell of a system that no real human being with the power to affect change has ever actually used.
Who can I talk to about making this easier?