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

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Second-story pot shop snuffed out

Invermere marijuana shop must revisit site proposal

Sultans of String swing into town

Show at Pynelogs November 29th

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nordic club glides into new ski season

Special presentation by Olympian Ingrid Liepa

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read