November 14th, 2017

Phoenix Debacle: Government Should Consider Plan B

OTTAWA – New Democrats are supporting calls made by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) to ask the Liberal government to look into an alternative to the Phoenix Pay System. Today, PIPSC called on the Liberals to look into a plan B as Phoenix continues to be a fiasco for public service employees.

“The number of public servants affected by the Phoenix fiasco continues to grow, with 265,000 civil servants having pay problems. In collaboration with unions and employees, the government needs to consider a plan B that does not include Phoenix,” said NDP Deputy Labour Critic Karine Trudel. “It is important that the experience and expertise of public servants in charge of remuneration as well as unions should be at the centre of formulating this plan B. The government cannot repeat the same mistake of ignoring warnings from unions and public servants.”

Before Phoenix was rolled out in February 2016, the Liberal government ignored calls from unions and public servants to delay the implementation of the pay system. Since then more than half of public servants have experienced ongoing pay problems. The Liberals promised to fix the Phoenix fiasco by the end of October 2016, but a year later after the government’s self-imposed deadline, the problem is still not resolved. Considering the government has yet to find a solution, they should demonstrate openness to PIPSC's proposal for a plan B.

“The minister responsible for this file has not ruled out the possibility that the costs of this fiasco will surpass $1 billion and still she has no deadline to fix it,” added NDP Public Services and Procurement Critic Erin Weir. “The Phoenix Pay System was supposed to save Canadian tax payers $70 million a year, but it could very likely cost $1 billion.”

For the NDP, it’s clear that more contracting out is not the remedy for Phoenix. Our public servants are part of the solution and the government must work with them to rebuild a publicly-administered federal payroll system.