New pay system saving Canada’s government $50m a year rolled out today

By on 25/02/2016 | Updated on 24/09/2020

A new consolidated pay system expected to save Canada’s government more than $70m (US$50m) a year is being rolled out to dozens of federal departments today.

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) –  the department responsible for the government’s internal servicing and administration – yesterday announced that the new Phoenix pay system will be rolled out to 101 departments by the end of this financial year as part of the Consolidation of Pay Services Project (CPSP).

By the end of this month, Phoenix will be available in 34 federal ministries including the Privy Council Office, the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and Canada School of Public Service, and by April it will be run by a further 67 agencies including the Public Prosecution Service, Statistics Canada, the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner and the Auditor General.

The new system will enable public servants who previously had to submit paper time sheets and overtime requests to do so online with their information being directly routed to their manager.

Officials will also be able to update their banking information as part of the system’s self service function, instead of filling in paper forms and waiting for manual changes to take effect.

Public service managers will be able to use the new system to organise their incoming pay related activities and digitally assign employees with customised work schedules with unique working hours.

The annual savings will be achieved by streamlining services and reducing printing costs and processing times.

The CPSP is consolidating pay services from participating departments and agencies to the Public Service Pay Centre in Miramichi, south-east Canada, where the government will create 550 new public service jobs as a result.

Asked whether there will be any job losses as a result of the consolidation, PWGSC said:

“The impact of the new pay system on the current operations will not be known until the system is acquired and the necessary analysis is completed.

“Once the new pay system is implemented [by April 2016], automation will likely change the nature of the activities within the compensation community.

“As a result, new roles that rely on different skills and/or competencies may be identified. The project will develop a long-term plan that will identify any new or emerging roles, along with a strategy to ensure all staff can acquire the skills and competencies they need under the new service delivery model.”

PWGSC said the new system will replace a previous one which is “more than 40 years old”, “has become increasingly difficult to maintain and relies on outdated technology that puts the sustainability of the administration of pay at risk.”

It added that “pay services have been fragmented and decentralised” and that “the capability of the existing pay system and the accompanying business processes are insufficient to meet the increasing employee and client demands.”

Click here to see the rollout schedule for departments and agencies.



For up to date government news and international best practice follow us on Twitter @globegov

See also:

Canada’s PM announces new ‘open, merit-based’ selection process for hundreds of senior public service roles

Shared Services Canada heavily criticised in audit report

How can you leverage the power of mobile Apps across the public sector?

Canada’s government moves to repeal law enabling it to unilaterally pass sick leave changes

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.


  1. Mark says:

    Phoenix forces PS employees to take on more clerical duties, for which most PS workers are overqualified, but undertrained, to do. The result? Savings? Unlikely as high as projected. No one counts the cost of everyone in the PS now having to be their own typist, editor, receptionist, meeting and travel arranger, and now pay analyst. The interruptions in our days just increase, reducing productivity. We count dollars saved at one end, but not squandered on the other.

    You can see it in this statement “The annual savings will be achieved by streamlining services and reducing printing costs and processing times.” No, someone still has to print out the T4 slips, but it just won’t be centralised. Processing time? Also no: add up the time it takes for everyone to print out their own; I’ll bet it far exceeds the time taken by one centralised system, or even a system distributed to each department.

  2. Joe says:

    Savings are being achieved by making employees wait months for anything that’s classed as extra duty pay. I wonder if anyone leaving the public service will be able to get their full monies owed in 7 days or next scheduled payday as mandated BY LAW?

  3. Marie Helene Lareault says:

    Of course it prevents overpayments, it does not pay some employees. How would you like waiting more than 6 months to get paid 84 hours of banked overtime? I’m still waiting…

  4. Marcus Weber says:

    Just to keep everyone informed, the new payroll system is an absolute disaster. It will take months even years to work out all the problems. Another disaster from the former Harper regime.

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