Pilot project launched at CSC to fix Phoenix

Radio-Canada, December 30, 2017

A new Payroll Unit comprised of 22 Pay Advisors that has been set up at the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is offering hope to many public servants and has already led to the processing of dozens of files.

The idea of re-hiring Pay Advisors had been brewing for some time at the Correctional Service of Canada, a department heavily affected by the issues surrounding the Phoenix pay system. About 85% of institutional and parole staff have had issues with their pay according to the Union of Solicitor General Employees (USGE).

Thus this unit was set up following a “vast recruitment campaign,” explained USGE Vice-President Yvon Barrière. It is comprised of former employees who had been laid off because of the dismantlement of the previous pay system.

“Advisors will concentrate mainly on the backlog, cases of underpaid Correctional Service staff that have been languishing for months,” explained Mr. Barrière. “They are experienced staff who had been laid off following [Phoenix] implementation.”

What’s new with this pilot project is that Advisors will have full access to Phoenix. This is a major leap forward according to the Union.

“An Advisor who opens up a file with two or three issues, instead of working in silos, will be able to correct all of them with all necessary accesses for that person,” added Mr. Barrière.

Mr. Barrière now hopes that the Correctional Service of Canada pilot project can be adapted to the reality of other departments.

“Each department will have to have its own payroll office to make the necessary corrections, otherwise we will never get on top of this,” added the union activist, estimating that the Miramichi Pay Centre is too centralized to effectively process all files.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Regional Vice-President for the national capital region, Greg McGillis, also says he is optimistic with the pilot project results.

“We believe it should be done elsewhere, particularly for other departments with difficult compensation issues,” he added.

Mr. McGillis still believes it will be necessary to continue hiring Pay Advisors in Miramichi to resolve “the major issue of public servants who are not properly paid, which is of the utmost importance to us.”

Moreover, this new unit will not offer any services directly to members. The CSC asks that they continue using the “existing processes” to forward their requests and questions, which is unacceptable according to University of Ottawa management and law professor Gilles Levasseur.

“How can a public servant call upon a service to resolve his particular issue? Here is a proactive system trying to perform administrative functions for the organization. But what does this do for the individual employee in the short term?” asks Mr. Levasseur.

With files from Florence Ngué-No

Link to related English article

Link to interview (French only)