Federal employees are understandably concerned about the ongoing consolidation of the government’s payroll services and the introduction of the Phoenix system. It’s no secret that this initiative has been beset by difficulties since the first government departments began their transition to the new system a couple of years ago. While the Treasury Board (TB) has tried to downplay the extent of these problems, issues such as the timely payment of public servants, pay errors, and the lack of resources and training available to employees involved in the project were so widespread that bargaining agents met with TB representatives at the time to outline their concerns over the situation.
In this context, I share many of our members’ concerns at the planned transition of over 60 remaining federal organizations to the Phoenix system later this April. I have therefore written to Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement urging her to postpone this transition until these issues have been resolved. In the meantime, the Institute will continue to closely monitor the situation in the months ahead and, together with other bargaining agents, intervene as needed.
April 15, 2016
The Hon Judy Foote
Minister of Public Services and Procurement
11 Laurier Street Place du Portage, Phase III, Floor 18A1
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0S5
By email: email@example.com
Dear Minister Foote,
I am writing today concerning a critical issue to my members, the timely access to their pay. As I am sure you can understand, this is an issue of much concern to them and their families. As the President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), I represent upwards of 50,000 employees in the federal public service and I thank you for the opportunity to bring this matter to your attention.
We understand that the workers at the Pay Centre in Miramichi have been doing their best to pay federal public employees in a timely and accurate fashion. Nevertheless, we believe that inadequate resources and flaws in the new Phoenix pay system are preventing this from happening.
I have heard from countless members of the pay problems they are facing. These include delayed pay (often over consecutive pay periods), overpayments, and much evidence of a system that is not meeting the multiple pay situations, such as shift work, our members experience. As you can imagine, irregular pay can result in direct payments for mortgages, utilities, childcare and other day-to-day expenses being bounced and resulting in direct costs to our members.
We believe immediate action is required and want to first call on your government to delay the next phase of transfers to the pay centre scheduled for this month. We also would like to see departments put in place a process for advancing emergency funds for those employees who are forced to go without pay because of problems with the system.
The current situation is unacceptable and must be fixed as soon as possible. I look forward to your prompt reply and to learn what steps your department is taking to remedy this situation.