Sen. Percy Mockler, centre, chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, sits with deputy chairs Sen. Mobina Jaffer, left, and Sen. Andre Pratte, of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, listen to questions during a press conference on their report on the Phoenix pay system, in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Government to take ‘entirely different approach’ to replace Phoenix pay system

The last federal budget included $16 million to search for an alternative to Phoenix

Angry civil servants protested the Phoenix pay system debacle outside a federal Liberal cabinet retreat Thursday as the Trudeau government declared it would soon be taking an “entirely different approach” to how its employees get paid.

In a statement released as protesters gathered outside the Liberal retreat in Nanaimo, B.C., the Treasury Board Secretariat said it would seek out potential alternative pay systems through a procurement process it will launch to replace Phoenix.

The government has already been looking at a number of software providers and will work with civil servants and their unions in testing and ultimately launching a replacement human resources and pay system, the statement said.

“The TBS team has been working on preliminary analysis of available vendors and, as part of an upcoming notice of proposed procurement, will be looking to private sector expertise to identify potential innovative alternatives for a new system.”

The government said it would be working closely with public servants and unions to assess and ultimately implement a new system.

READ MORE:Feds considering ‘tiered’ compensation for Phoenix damages, no price tag yet: source

READ MORE: Report says Phoenix pay advisers not being trained adequately

But Public Service Alliance of Canada president Chris Aylward told placard-waving government employees on Vancouver Island that his members have almost run out of patience.

The Liberals could face consequences in next fall’s federal election if they don’t act more quickly, he warned: “You start showing respect to federal public-sector workers, or you will pay in October of 2019.”

The Trudeau government’s last budget included $16 million to search for an alternative to Phoenix, which has caused massive headaches for more than half of federal employees who have been overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all.

The Phoenix system, launched more than two years ago, was supposed to save taxpayers money but is currently on track to cost more than $1 billion.

In a report issued earlier this year, auditor general Michael Ferguson blamed the Phoenix debacle on a culture within government of bureaucrats avoiding reporting failures to their supervisors.

Finding an alternative system has been left to a “multi-disciplinary” team at Treasury Board under the direction of the country’s chief information officer, Alex Benay.

“The team will take an entirely different approach than the one that led to the implementation of Phoenix, including strong governance and direct accountability,” the statement said.

But that team must act fast if the government is to gain back the confidence of its employees, said Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

And alternative systems are already readily available within government that hold the potential to be adapted to the entire federal civil service, she added.

“We hope the government will test every viable alternative, including adapting the corporate administrative system currently used at the (Canada Revenue Agency),” Daviau said.

“Our members have already waited for an alternative long enough.”

Roughly 55,000 employees at CRA and the Canada Border Services Agency fall under that system, said Daviau, who said it only needs to be adapted to produce paycheques — a process currently being handled by the national pay centre in Miramichi, N.B.

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Pair arrested in Ponoka with several weapons, face 98 charges

Two men nabbed after early morning suspicious vehicle reported, stolen weapons found

UPDATE: 18-year-old Rimbey teen dies in collision

A portion of Highway 53 west of Rimbey is down to one lane while crews investigate

Ponoka County approves $70,000 to dredge Parkland Beach

Parkland Beach to see some dredging support from Ponoka County

Ponoka sets bylaw on cannabis retail, pushes for quick public consumption regulation

Town passes first reading on retail outlet bylaw, questions staff on need to separate public usage

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read