Canadian government unveils plan to tackle Phoenix payroll system problems


Since the applications were launched in February 2016, tens of thousands of federal government workers have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.

After months of problems, the Canadian government has finally launched a three-point plan to tackle the most pressing concerns relating to its Phoenix payroll system.

Since the applications were launched in February 2016, tens of thousands of federal government workers have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all. But the new plan includes a two-year, C$140 million funding reallocation provision to ensure employees will be paid on time in future.

The C$140 million figure would appear to eliminate any savings that Phoenix was supposed to deliver – for the next two years at least. When working as it should, the self-service-based system is expected to save the government C$70 million per year.

The second part of the scheme, meanwhile, will see Ralph Goodale, current public safety minister and the most senior member of the Liberal government’s cabinet, head up a taskforce to investigate what has gone wrong.

Finally, the government will offer up to C$200 to employees who have had to hire accountants or incurred other fees as a result of payroll problems relating to their 2016 or 2017 income taxes. As many as 50,000 tax slips had to be reissued to workers in relation to the 2016 return because of Phoenix-related issues and a third of all employees are believed to have experienced some kind of payroll problem since the system was launched.

The most common issue was underpayment, with most of those affected not receiving overtime pay or certain kinds of danger money. But a number of stories of extreme financial hardship have also been reported in the national press for months