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

City errs in posting boil-water advisory for Abbotsford and Mission

‘Draft weblink’ mistakenly goes live on city website Thursday night

Small, untested company behind plans for massive aerospace plant

Abbotsford was labelled a possible destination for a small company’s big manufacturing plans

Singer Bif Naked among speakers at West Coast Women’s Show

Annual event takes place Oct. 18-20 at Tradex in Abbotsford

ELECTION HUB: Candidate profiles, voter information and news for Abbotsford’s ridings

We’ve collected our election coverage in one spot to help you decide who to vote for

UFV bans cash after accepting 17 payments over $10k last year

Ban on cash payments follows report warning of potential money laundering through universities

Fashion Fridays: 5 things to remove from your closet

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read