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

UPDATED: Police looking at other collisions linked to impaired driver who allegedly struck Langley 12-year-old

One of two Friday hit-and-runs the driver is believed to be part of, Langley police say

VIDEO: World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship begins in Langley

Opening ceremony marks start of fifth edition of the championship, which is held every four years.

Late hockey player to be remembered forever with jersey retirement

Jersey wall at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre rink will honour Coleton Nelson

Mystery Langley lands needed for pipeline project left off records for years

The tiny slivers of land were lost due to some kind of error

Sip ‘n’ Dip returns again for adults only at Aldergrove water park

It is the third event of its kind in partnership with Trading Post Brewery

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

‘What goes up will come down’: Gas prices spike in Metro Vancouver

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices will fall Thursday

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read