PIPSC President Debi Daviau’s comments on April 5, 2017 Phoenix technical briefing

PIPSC President Debi Daviau’s comments on today’s technical briefing regarding the Phoenix Pay system and news suggesting that performance payments may have been awarded to department executives overseeing the system

Once again, PIPSC members come out of this latest technical briefing without the sense that a fix to the Phoenix system is coming soon.

While there is much tinkering around the edges, no global solution is yet in sight. And while mention of a “steady state” continues to be a favourite talking point (for example, with maternity and parental leave requests), there has been no indication that the funds would be made available to ensure we have a timely, long-term fix to all issues. Many disability leave requests, which affect the most vulnerable federal employees, have yet to be fixed.

Deputy Minister Lemay also remarked that “the way we’re organizing our work today is not our long-term approach.”

In fact, this is precisely why we recommended that a contingency fund to fix Phoenix be included in the recent federal budget and that further training be provided to government IT workers. The government should not be forever dependent on IBM or other consultants to fix its Phoenix problems. This would enable a fix that could be maintained by our complement of public servant IT employees. We see no sign of this kind of long-term planning.

We will be verifying with PIPSC members who contacted us for help, especially those on maternity and parental leave, to make sure their cases have indeed been resolved.

Finally, the possibility that executives overseeing the Phoenix pay system may have been awarded performance pay is deeply upsetting and, if true, would be a disgraceful misuse of Canadians’ taxes – especially given the enormous number of public servants who we know continue to be deprived of money they are owed, and after the government stated in December that bonuses for executives dealing with Phoenix were under review.