Image: from Canada.ca
Revenue Canada - More than just taxes
... but less than "old age" Pension
When Trudeau reaches "old age" himself he will probably want that designation to be changed to something more politically correct.
Service Canada called twice last week saying it was about my "old age" security (OAS) pension.
Not having been born yesterday (obviously), I don't discuss my personal business with strangers over the phone. Most of my phone calls now (given that just about everybody I know has died) are nuisance calls which I allow my answering machine to respond to.
With good reason, it turns out, since the Govt itself has been warning about scam calls.
The first call was from a male with an Indian accent. This may seem like prejudice on my part, but the RCMP has reportedly been arresting people from India in connection with spam calls in Canada. [YouTube August 2019]
Apparently, the RCMP can catch criminals in far off lands, but have difficulty solving, for instance, the disappearances of thousands of aboriginal females right here at home.
Anyway, a day later, there was a second call, this time from a young female and, out of sheer annoyance, I picked up and was told that it was about my "old age" pension but the caller wouldn't reveal to me more than that until I answered a couple of "security questions". *Sigh*
"Send me a letter," I said. "Oh ... Okay", she replied.
A couple of days later, a letter arrived in a Service Canada envelope asking for my correct address (which, of course, was on the letter itself) and a voided cheque to enable direct deposit of OAS and CPP into my bank account (which had already been enabled by my bank and has been working flawlessly for several years).
Reluctantly, I decided to risk phoning Service Canada, despite having seen this warning and this, and also knowing that, even if I did reach the Govt, I should not expect speedy "service".
I called early enough in the morning hoping the wait would be shorter than later in the day, and was treated to a loud, rapid-fire recorded treatise on the wonders of Service Canada itself, interspersed with various numbers I could press for this or that. But the talking just wouldn't stop, so I started punching random numbers until I actually reached a department, which then put me on hold. But not for too long, thankfully.
Oddly, the live person who finally came on the line was also a rapid-fire speaker, continually breaking into my carefully rehearsed reason for calling until I finally had to ask her to stop talking and just listen.
The upshot was that I learned for the first time that Service Canada and Revenue Canada do not share information with each other. Apparently I should have sent my address change to both departments separately -- but sending to just RevCan caused trouble enough.
Two months after notifying RevCan of my new address -- by expensive Special Delivery mail -- they apparently still hadn't recorded it, and my tax forms didn't arrive -- presumably having been sent to my old address -- so I had to call RevCan to obtain official facsimiles of the OAS/CPP tax slips, and I downloaded the various Income Tax forms from the Govt website, printed them out myself, got my taxes sent in on time and received the official assessment at my new address.
But now, over seven months later, I was being told that Service Canada does not get its information from Revenue Canada, and they needed me to tell them my correct address so they could send me updates regarding my "old age" Pension.
But first they would need me to identify myself with SIN number and date of birth.
But ... but, I said, the letter you sent me has my correct address on it! "You're not trying to drive me crazy, are you?" I asked.
I could tell the SerCan employee was not batting an eyelash, and she didn't even try to offer an explanation. Instead she ordered me (she was quite officious, not the kind to ask politely) to read the address aloud to her, and then proclaimed that now SerCan would be able to send me annual updates about increases in the "old age" Pension -- which I don't really need because I can see by my bank account exactly how much it increases annually.
So ... remember, if you're an "old age" pensioner, and you move to a new address, don't even think of it without notifying both RevCan and SerCan. And don't try to do it by mail because heaven only knows where it will end up! You need to phone them and sit for ages waiting for someone to pick up, or you can visit a Service Canada centre and wait forever to get served.
Above all, take note of the following:
Finally, always remember that your government loves and respects you and exists to serve you as long as you're willing to put its every need first and understand its little quirks. For example: Don't imagine that the statement "More Than Just Taxes" implies anything whatsoever to do with the "old age" Pension.
Mind you, it was not as bad as dealing with Bell Canada.** At least the Feds insult your intelligence more robotically, without actual hostility -- nothing personal. (Not all of them, of course, but I wonder if the couple of rare, more human ones I encountered over the the years got kicked upstairs or fired.)
Anyway, I got through it and the worst thing that happened was that by the time it was over my coffee was cold!
** Update re my saga with Bell Canada: After I moved, I was without a phone for 5 days. Had to call Bell repeatedly as the promised solution did not present itself, and talking to about 10 different reps (I'm not exaggerating), a young woman named Rhya took it upon herself to work with a technician to figure out how to move a home phone from "Fibe to the Home" to an ordinary landline phone hookup. I never got the chance to thank her, but Bell should promote her to Big Boss! With Rhya at the top, Bell might retain the Knowledge of its own history.
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