Canada’s federal pay issues to be ‘resolved by end of October’

By on 17/08/2016

Problems with Canada’s federal pay system are expected to be fixed by the end of October, a senior official has said.

Tens of thousands of public servants have reported issues with their pay since the new Phoenix system was introduced earlier this year.

While many failed to get paid at all, others experienced huge delays in receiving their monthly wages.

Now Marie Lemay, the civil servant in charge of Public Services and Procurement Canada, which oversees Phoenix, wrote in a message to employees last week that “we have reduced our backlog by over 5,000 cases and expect to have it resolved by the end of October.”

She added: “Our goal is to get to a steady state where all aspects of the pay system are functioning smoothly and reliably.”

She also said that her department had hired additional resources for its temporary pay unit in Gatineau, and for its regional hubs in Shawinigan and Winnipeg, and is “working actively to finalise staffing in Montréal.”

“We expect to begin seeing increased reduction in our backlog over the coming weeks,” she said, and urged public servants who have not received their salary to ask for emergency payments from their department or by using an the Phoenix feedback form, which can also be used to report problems.

Pay issues can also be reported through the department’s new call centre at +1-855-686-4729.

Public Service Alliance Canada (PSAC), Canada’s largest public sector union, which teamed up with more than a dozen unions to take the federal government to court over pay issues, is holding a protest in Newfoundland – the home province of public services and procurement minister Judy Foote.

PSAC national executive and vice-president Chris Aylward and Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) president John MacLennan will hold a press conference at 1am before staging the rally at Harbourside Park, Water Street, at 12 noon.

Public Services and Procurement Canada started rolling out Phoenix, a new consolidated pay system, across departments in February this year.

Phoenix, run from the Public Service Pay Centre in Miramichi, south-east Canada, it said, would be up and running in more than 100 departments by April and save the government more than $50m (US$39m) a year by streamlining services, reducing printing costs and speeding up the process.

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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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