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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Immigration, Employment Insurance and Revenue Officers(1228)

This unit group includes government officers who administer and enforce laws and regulations related to immigration, employment insurance, customs and tax revenue. They are employed by government agencies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • May read instructions and warnings on product labels. For example, customs officers read labels on travellers' prescription medications to ensure they belong to the travellers and contain medication that is consistent with the label description. (1)
  • Read e-mail and memos. For example, collections enforcement officers read e-mail from their team leaders that describe how to complete form letter templates designed for use in specific cases. Customs inspectors read memos that inform all inspection staff of new and unusual methods of smuggling banned substances like illicit drugs into Canada. (2)
  • Read short text in entry forms, logbooks and journals. For example, immigration officers read entries that describe why clients are seeking exemptions in humanitarian and compassionate claims. Employment insurance officers read sections of appeal forms to provide guidance to claimants who are uncertain of the reasons for the disqualification of their claims. (2)
  • Read lengthy and detailed letters. For example, employment insurance officers read letters of appeal to identify points to consider during decision making processes. Immigration officers read letters from claimants who are coming into the office to follow-up on some aspects of their cases. They review the letters to see what determinations were originally made or what other issues may have arisen. (3)
  • May read articles in newspapers and magazines to maintain and cultivate their knowledge of current events and trends that may affect their work. For example, customs officers may read national newspapers like The National Post and magazines like MacLean's to learn about terrorist groups in Afghanistan and the practice of using women and children to smuggle explosives through border crossings. (3)
  • Read operating and investigation reports. For example, immigration officers read reports prepared by colleagues that outline clients' behaviours that are in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. They interpret the contents of the report to make final decisions about whether clients have violated some aspect of the Act and use the information as a guide when interviewing them. (3)
  • Read equipment, training and policy and procedures manuals. For example, customs officers read sections of training manuals that detail how to handle certain wild animals that people may attempt to smuggle into the country. Immigration officers read the Manual for Immigrant Application in Canada made on Humanitarian or Compassionate Grounds to better understand and adhere to the policies, definitions and procedures for different types of cases they encounter. (3)
  • May read synopses of legal proceedings to scrutinize the outcomes of court cases and understand their implications for their jobs. For example, immigration appeals officers may read synopses of proceedings from the Federal Court on Refugees to examine critical decisions made by the court. Collection enforcement officers may read summaries of legal defences provided by legal counsel to assess whether the arguments are valid. (4
  • Read federal Acts to ensure they carry out job)
  • tasks properly. For example, customs inspectors may read sections of the Food and Drugs Act to determine how best to process a shipment of turnips from Mexico which have not been graded and may contain food borne illnesses. Tax collection enforcement officers may read sections of the Excise Act and the Income Tax Act to obtain specific references and to interpret some aspects of the Acts as they pertain to tax remittances and source deductions. (5)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Scan labels for data. For example, a customs officer may scan shipping labels on packages to ensure that taxes and duties have been paid. (2)
  • Locate data in various tables and lists. For example, customs officers refer to lists of drugs known to contain banned substances like ephedrine. Immigration officers consult charts which are circulated weekly to determine conversion rates between Canadian and American funds and the various payments required for permits, bonds and other common charges in both Canadian and American funds. (2)
  • Locate information in graphs. For example, customs officers may identify trends in graphs showing the types and frequencies of smuggling arrests and good seizures. (3)
  • May review assembly drawings. For example, customs officers may identify dimensions and construction details of vehicles in order to locate natural cavities and voids that may be used to conceal illegal items such as drugs and firearms. (3)
  • Complete lengthy entry forms. For example, revenue officers complete motor vehicle search requests, credit bureau requests, lien registrations and other forms to obtain information on clients to facilitate investigation and enforcement procedures. (3)
  • Scan various entry forms for data such as names, dates, quantities and case numbers. For example, customs officers scan temporary admission permits to determine the names of travellers and the numbers of items they are importing into the country. Immigration officers examine passports and other documents included in clients' applications to ensure their legitimacy and accuracy. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • May enter text into forms. For example, immigration officers write short text entries in forms to request further documents to support applications. (2)
  • Write brief e-mail to clients, co-workers and supervisors. For example, immigration officers may write e-mail to co-workers in overseas offices to request information about individuals and to obtain opinions about applications. (2)
  • Write personal reminders and notes in logbooks, notebooks and journals. For example, employment insurance officers write notes that document attempts to reach clients. They record the times of the calls and summarize messages left for clients. Immigration officers write point-form notes while conducting interviews with clients to record the questions they ask and the answers they are given. Following enforcement actions, customs officers write entries in logbooks to record details of events, people, conversations, evidence, times, dates and other salient information. (2)
  • Write letters. For example, immigration officers write letters to various law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Interpol to request information about refugees seeking asylum in Canada. Employment insurance officers write letters to claimants that outline the status of their claims and explain decisions made in their cases. (3)
  • May write reports of investigations and enforcement activities. For example, customs officers write reports that describe the procedures they use to search and detain travellers smuggling illicit drugs. They outline initial search actions and findings, additional searches they perform, enforcement actions they take and further observations as travellers are taken into custody by police. They may use these reports as evidence at court proceedings. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Process cash, cheque and credit card payments. For example, customs officers receive payments of duties and taxes levied on goods being imported into Canada. (1)
  • May total bills and calculate taxes due on invoices. For example, customs officers may calculate taxes to be paid on imported goods by multiplying the cost of the goods by the tax rate. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Schedule appointments with clients. For example, employment insurance officers may draw up schedules for appointments with clients. (2)
  • May summarize financial transactions for their shifts and reconcile receipts with records such as cash register totals. For example, revenue officers may ring off their cash registers at the end of their shifts and ensure the float and total funds collected correspond to receipts. (3)
  • May determine personal budgets and payment schedules. For example, revenue officers develop payment schedules for taxpayers who owe back taxes. (3)
  • May analyze financial records. For example, revenue officers may analyze clients' income statements, asset reports, expense reports, investment portfolios and bank statements to determine if there are unnecessary expenses that can be avoided until their debts to the government are repaid. They may also review clients' business accounts to complete business audits. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May measure and weigh goods to verify dimensions and weights. For example, customs officers may measure the lengths of component parts of firearms to verify hunters' customs declarations. They may weigh gold jewellery to verify amounts stated in customs documentation. (1)
  • May calculate quantities of goods in trucks, containers and warehouses. For example, customs agents may calculate numbers of individual units in shipments packaged in gross lots and calculate the volumes and weights of bulk cargoes. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Gather and analyze data to verify customs declarations, applications for employment insurance and refugee claims. For example, customs officers may analyze data on international travellers' airline itineraries to determine the number of stops passengers make and the durations of their layovers in foreign countries. Revenue officers may compare inventory reports from taxpayers' businesses to quantities they claimed on their tax returns. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate the amount of time job tasks will take. For example, an employment insurance officer estimates how long particular interviews will last. A revenue officer may estimate how long it will take to complete an audit at a taxpayer's place of business. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Provide members of the general public with information and direction. For example, employment insurance officers answer telephone inquiries from the public about employment support services. Customs officers direct travellers to inspection stations for security screening and answer questions about importing goods. (2)
  • Discuss work assignments and job tasks with their supervisors. For example, customs officers are directed by their supervisors to occupy primary positions and point positions during their shifts and frequently discuss their observations. (2)
  • Discuss ongoing work with co-workers. For example, revenue officers may ask more experienced officers about obscure parts of tax legislation when they are unsure about how to handle taxpayers' cases. Customs officers with particular experience and interests in imported vehicles may verify the values of imported vehicles for less experienced co-workers. (3)
  • Discuss claims, benefits, taxes and penalties with citizens, immigrants and refugee claimants. For example, employment insurance officers answer claimants' questions about their employment insurance benefits, entitlements, payment start dates, options available to them to appeal entitlement decisions and job search supports. Customs officers discuss taxes due with travellers and explain regulations such as purchase limits and duty charges for travellers returning to Canada after trips of less than twenty-four hours. (3)
  • Speak with colleagues in other government departments and law enforcement agencies to exchange sensitive and confidential information. For example, revenue officers may speak to municipal police officers during raids or seizures of taxpayers' properties. Immigration officers may discuss searches of cargo holds with customs officers when undertaking joint operations on ships. (3)
  • Question and interrogate members of the public to investigate possible fraud, misrepresentation, false claims and other illegal activities. For example, customs officers investigate passengers who have made false declarations on customs declaration cards. Revenue officers question taxpayers about business expenses and past tax returns. They probe the details of expenses to reveal inconsistencies in tax returns. (4)
  • May train co-workers and present information about government programs and services at public meetings. For example, employment insurance officers may present information about employment insurance benefits to groups of employees who have experienced a large-scale layoff. Revenue officers who are responsible for taxpayers' investigations and enforcement of penalties may present workshops to tax auditors and financial experts in their departments about topics such as the GeoLink property records system and the Equifax website. (4)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Discover discrepancies and omissions in application forms, declarations and other documents. For example, employment insurance officers may notice that claimants' names on applications do not match the names associated with social insurance records. They try to determine if the discrepancies are caused by internal filing inaccuracies before they contact clients to obtain more information. (2)
  • Experience equipment faults and computer malfunctions that impede their work progress. For example, customs officers cannot use passenger screening and tax calculation software to collect duties and taxes. They contact their technical support representatives to inquire about the faults, manually create passenger lists and note each traveller's country of origin, status and other identifying information. They must also manually calculate taxes and duties using past knowledge and available printed resources to verify prices of imported goods. (2)
  • Are unable to communicate with travellers who do not speak an official language. For example, customs officers processing travellers who speak only Mandarin may not have access to interpreters. They assess various strategies to communicate with these individuals. They may try asking them if they were given notes and letters written in English, use hand gestures and sign language and encourage other passengers to assist with communication in order to validate travel documents and confirm reasons for travel. (3)
Decision Making
  • Choose procedures and methods for investigation and enforcement tasks. For example, revenue officers investigating taxpayers' cases may decide to go out to the field to interview uncooperative clients, their neighbours and relatives to secure clients' co-operation. Immigration officers may find that immigrants' sponsorship documents are unclear and incomplete and may decide to contact the sponsors for clarification. They may decide to ask frank questions about couples' relationships to determine if immigrants have undertaken marriages of convenience to stay in Canada. (2)
  • Decide to pass investigation and enforcement tasks to supervisors and other enforcement agencies. For example, revenue officers may decide to forward difficult case files to their supervisors for further review. Immigration officers may decide to involve police forces in investigations if they cannot gain the information they require by other means. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the completeness of applications and other documents. For example, customs officers analyze travellers' import documents to ensure the information is complete, receipts for imported goods are included and passport stamps with matching itineraries are supplied. Employment insurance officers evaluate the completeness of applications for benefits. (2)
  • Assess the veracity of information gleaned from members of the public through interviews, questionnaires, application forms and requests for information. For example, revenue officers evaluate the truthfulness of responses from taxpayers about claimed expenses and past tax returns. Employment insurance officers judge the authenticity of claims for benefits. They consider if aspects of applications and records of employment are suspicious. They observe claimants for displays of strange and inconsistent behaviour during interviews. (3)
  • Evaluate their own safety and the safety of co-workers when carrying out their duties. For example, immigration officers assess the risks involved in searching ships for stowaways and ship jumpers who may act violently to avoid capture and detainment. Customs officers may evaluate the safety of packages, crates and containers shipped from countries with active terrorist groups. (3)
  • Evaluate the threat or danger that certain individuals pose to the general public. For example, customs officers assess the risks involved with allowing foreign travellers into Canada. They scan police and Interpol databases, verify the accuracy of documents and perform interrogations and searches. (3)
  • May organize and direct complex evaluations to build legal cases for other investigators, lawyers, appeal boards and their departmental Ministers. For example, immigration officers may collect, analyze and present evidence provided by refugee status appellants and assess evidence solicited through expert opinions from medical doctors and lawyers to present complete cases and suggest potential decisions for refugee determination hearings and proceedings. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Immigration, employment insurance and revenue officers order their own job tasks to ensure they maintain public safety, administer programs and enforce regulations. Although their supervisors assign general duties, many job tasks also originate from questions from the public and from investigative work. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Immigration, employment insurance and revenue officers in senior or supervisory roles may plan and organize typical job tasks for junior staff.

Significant Use of Memory
  • May remember which of their co-workers have particular expertise and skills.
  • May remember sections of Acts and regulations to quickly apply them to particular situations and to reference sections of Acts in reports and other documents.
Finding Information
  • Obtain up-to-date information about industry trends and global affairs by reading magazines and browsing the Internet. For example, customs officers may visit news organizations' websites to read about security breaches at international airports and seaports. (2)
  • Find personal information about individuals and financial data for businesses and organizations. For example, customs officers may access 'no fly' lists to locate the names of travellers who are not permitted to leave the country. Revenue officers may speak to disgruntled spouses about their partners' tax frauds. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use word processing. For example, they write letters, memos and narrative journal entries using the basic text editing and formatting functions of word processing programs such as Word and WordPerfect. (2)
  • May use graphics software. For example, they may use presentation software to create and display slide shows for meetings and information sessions. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, they may access personal and financial information in electronic databases such as the Equifax credit history database. Revenue officers may use application-specific databases such as WinIdea to present financial data in one location and one format. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they may create spreadsheets to track their travel expenses and to analyze financial data gathered during investigations. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they use e-mail programs such as Outlook to exchange e-mail with co-workers, colleagues and supervisors. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they may search various federal government department websites for elecronic versions of documents, Acts, policies and procedures. (2)
  • May use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, they may export financial records from Simply Accounting and QuickBooks into financial analysis software programs created specifically by their departments. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Immigration, employment insurance and revenue officers integrate and coordinate job tasks with many co-workers and colleagues. As members of large federal government departments, they work in teams to complete investigation and enforcement assignments. They are frequently required to integrate job tasks with workers in other agencies such as municipal police forces and federal courts. They may supervise junior staff and may plan and organize routine job tasks for junior staff. (2)

Continuous Learning

Immigration, employment insurance and revenue officers must stay abreast of frequent changes to the Excise Tax Act, Income Tax Act, Immigration Act and Customs Act as well as changes to other Acts they may rely on including the Canada Shipping Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. They may design continuous learning plans with their supervisors and managers and identify learning opportunities that will help them complete their work more efficiently and effectively. At work, they may read policy and procedural manuals and newspaper stories that address their work. On their own time, they may read magazines, books and other printed resources about their work and search Internet sites for informal learning opportunities like webinars and on-line instruction. (4)

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