OTTAWA – With improperly paid civil servants facing a tax filing deadline this weekend, the prime minister has announced the creation of a high-powered cabinet committee to fix the federal government’s troubled electronic pay system.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the group, led by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, will work to bring the Phoenix pay system to a so-called steady state, although a statement from the PMO doesn’t provide a deadline for achieving that goal.
The pay problems began shortly after the new system was launched nearly 15 months ago, initially affecting 82,000 civil servants who were either underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all – in some cases for months.
But as of April 5, the department overseeing the pay system said pay transactions still needing to be processed stagnated at 284,000 from the previous month, with no end in sight to the problems.
Trudeau has acknowledged the hardship the pay problems have caused many civil servants, but has, until recently, accused the previous Conservative government of setting the pay modernization program up to fail by cutting corners on training and eliminating payroll system jobs.
Today, the prime minister says he expects the new ministerial working group to bolster the actions the government has already taken to fix the pay issues.