Phoenix Pay System
New Democrats continue to call on the federal government to take immediate action to address the dysfunctional Phoenix payroll system, which has breached the privacy of federal employees and failed to properly pay one-third of them.
In any workplace, we would expect the employer to pay its employees correctly and on time without compromising their personal information. It’s embarrassing that the Canadian government is not meeting these basic obligations.
On May 17, 2016, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement said that there were fewer than 80 unresolved Phoenix cases. On July 18, 2016, the government admitted that 80,000 federal employees have not been paid the correct amounts. In doing so, the Liberals have shifted gears from downplaying the problem to acknowledging its severity but blaming the former Conservative government.
The Conservatives were wrong to imagine that the federal government could effectively replace its payroll systems with off-the-shelf software from IBM operated by a single pay centre, relocated to Miramichi, New Brunswick, for political reasons. The Liberals were wrong to implement Phoenix this year even after employees at Miramichi warned that the system was not ready.
Public servants who have not been paid for months are now missing their mortgage, credit card and tuition payments. As this problem persists, more financial penalties are accumulating and the government will ultimately have to pay out more compensation.
After dismissing questions about Phoenix from federal employees, their unions and the NDP for months, the Liberals must now take responsibility for rushing to implement it. To ensure the delivery of important public services and to safeguard tax dollars, the government must re-establish a functioning payroll system.
Watch Weir question Judy Foote, the minister responsible for Phoenix:
Watch Weir in the House of Commons: