Phoenix will be reborn there ever from its ashes?

Photo: Ron Ward The canadian Press
Phoenix was supposed to reduce the number of compensation consultants are present a little everywhere in the various departments and agencies of the federal government.

The Office of the auditor general of Canada, foretold of dark days in Phoenix, the service of centralized pay of federal employees. According to him, it will take a lot more time and especially more money than expected Ottawa to fix the errors that bog down the system, more than a year and a half after its commissioning.


Ottawa had predicted that by centralizing all of its pay services in a single system, it would save $ 70 million per year over three years. Not only do these economies are no longer at the rendezvous, but the federal government now expects that he will have to pay 540 million during the same period to address the issues. However, even this estimate is not good, according to the auditor general Michael Ferguson.

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“We are of the opinion that it will cost much more to have a viable system in the long term,” concludes the chapter devoted to the system Phoenix from its last report. How many will there be exactly ? The auditors of Mr. Ferguson aren’t attempting to provide a amount, but they cite the australian example. In 2010, the Queensland Health, a department employing 78 000 public servants, has also endowed a payroll system computerized. The problems were such that it costs five times more than expected to resolve, or the equivalent of 1.2 billion canadian dollars. Eight years after its commissioning, problems still occur. In comparison, the system Phoenix deals with the remuneration 290 000 employees. It was put into service in two stages, in February and then in April 2016.


Phoenix was supposed to reduce the number of compensation consultants are present a little everywhere in the various departments and agencies of the federal government in bringing the public service pay Centre Miramichi, New Brunswick. It was expected that 460 employees to Miramichi to do the work of 1200 employees. It is not the case. Finally, Miramichi counted 550 employees and the department in charge of Phoenix, public Services and Supply of Canada, has hired or will divert a total of 1400 employees to solve problems.


In date of June 2017, the auditor general estimated that 150 000 officials were waiting for an intervention on their pay cheque, for a total of 494 500 necessary interventions. The errors (amounts in arrears or paid) totaled one-half billion dollars. This represents four times as many employees and five times more than what was normally waiting under the old pay system.


In this chapter, moreover, the auditor general noted that the federal government under-estimated by 29% the number of requests for intervention in its public communications. This is because the department excludes from its calculations the requests will have no financial impact, those that don’t require “a significant effort on the part of the compensation advisors” or those that are a duplication of other requests. The auditor-general considers that it is not honest to exclude these cases, as before we can determine that there will be no impact, still it is necessary that an officer compensation review…


The auditor-general invites the public Services and Supply of Canada to adopt a comprehensive governance structure to find a holistic solution for sustainable problems of pay rather than only react to situations that arise. Because, up to now, solutions have not helped to reduce the number of pending requests. In comparison, the australian ministry who has experienced similar problems had such an overall plan just four months after seeing the first seeds.


The auditor general also gives some examples of the problems of Phoenix. Thus, it was discovered that the input of certain data for the calculation of the pay made in the derailment of Phoenix and generated errors. Compensation advisors could not, therefore, be unable to access certain parts of the system approximately five days per pay cycle of 10 working days. Similarly, departments have only limited access to Phoenix. They could therefore not verify the accuracy of any pay cheque before it is issued. Public Services and Procurement advised at the last minute the government departments of the availability of the system, forcing those to perform the checks in the evenings or on the weekends.

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