25 September 2023

PS pay system still unfinished

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More than two years after the Liberal Government took over the task of repairing Canada’s trouble-plagued Phoenix Public Service pay system, the Minister in charge has admitted it is still a work in progress.

Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Carla Qualtrough (pictured) was speaking in New Brunswick Province, where she officially opened the centralised Public Service Pay Centre, which processes pay cheques for 300,000 Federal employees in 46 Departments.

“We have reason to celebrate the hard work of the people working here,” Ms Qualtrough said as she cut the ribbon outside the new building, which actually opened for business in January.

“They work every day to resolve these problems; we have seen progress, even if it’s not as fast as we would like.”

The previous Conservative Government, which installed the system, said Phoenix would save taxpayers more than C$70 million (A$73 million) annually.

Instead, it has caused so many mistakes across the country that the backlog of transactions stood at 625,000 as of 21 March.

Ms Qualtrough said that number is expected to dip only slightly when the latest figures are released later this month.

She said a pilot project developed at the Centre would be rolled out across the country to ensure more timely payments.

“This pilot that we have done has reduced the queue in the Departments in the pilot project by 24 per cent,” Ms Qualtrough said.

In a separate development, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has launched a campaign against what it calls “precarious jobs that lack stability, regular scheduling, and provide substandard or no benefits and pensions”.

Delegates at the PASC’s annual conference voted to work to stop temporary staff filling positions that should be permanent, to lobby all Governments to ensure temporary workers enjoyed the same legislative and social protections as other workers, and to advocate for fair and just conditions for workers in precarious jobs in the Public Service and with other employers.

Ottawa, 6 May 2018

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