Response from Global Affairs Canada

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council
  and Secretary to the Cabinet
Privy Council Office
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON  K1P 5K9

Dear colleague:

Thank you for your letter of November 2, 2017, requesting an update of Global Affairs Canada’s ongoing efforts to assist our colleagues at Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) in achieving a steady state with the Phoenix pay system and current compensation service delivery model in Miramichi.

Global Affairs Canada officials are actively participating as members of the new Human Resources (HR) to Pay governance structure at the Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Minister and Director General levels. This includes an established departmental working group which is supporting the mandate and efforts of the HR to Pay integration team, and the activities that aim to stabilize pay operations, resolve emerging issues, improve the service to clients and enhance HR capacity to respond to interventions that lead to pay actions. Furthermore, we will continue to contribute directly to these efforts by providing time and necessary resources to the Interdepartmental Analysis Working Team (IDAT). I understand that the work completed by the IDAT will be shared with you in the coming weeks.

In an effort to support our employees, a dedicated Compensation Unit was created as the department reallocated $628 thousand to fund eight indeterminate positions and provide minimal compensation services. This unit addressed urgent cases and ensured that employees and managers alike were provided the necessary support to navigate the new service delivery model. At the onset, this did help to provide capacity by issuing employees emergency salary advances and/or priority payments when requested and warranted, and also helped to ensure these employees were onboarding to the new pay system in a timely fashion. We do recognize that the unique circumstance of having a rotational and mobile workforce at Global Affairs Canada does create challenges. Since a large portion of our workforce transition from one assignment to another, these movements require the department to administer a great number of HR actions which may ultimately impact an employees pay. To minimize the number of rejected pay action requests (PAR), the department decided to centralize the completion of these PARs within this dedicated Compensation Unit. This proved to be beneficial as the number of rejected PARs is significantly lower than the average of other departments being serviced by the Pay Centre.

A few months after the launch of the Phoenix pay system, Global Affairs Canada developed its own Transformation of Pay Administration (TPA) dashboard to help identify current pressures and challenges including the monitoring of our backlog of cases and the number of emergency salary advances issued to employees. These were being shared with senior management to keep them apprised of the current status but also to provide an update on our on-going efforts to support the TPA initiative. We have since discontinued the production of such dashboard following the June 2017 introduction of the government wide HR to Pay Stabilization Dashboard. We welcome this initiative and believe that this product provides useful information to monitor our progress.

Furthermore, the return of the projected departmental harvested savings of $1.2 million from the TPA initiative has facilitated our ability to increase our capacity to address these initiatives. We are confident that the additional 14 indeterminate positions will increase our ability to further assist employees and managers with their compensation issues.

Global Affairs Canada is aware that there needs to be a culture shift in how managers and employees use the Phoenix pay system. We agree that our human resources professionals and compensation specialists must also fully understand the importance of how their day-to-day transactions in our Human Resources Management System influences and impacts the new pay system.

We will continue to inform employees of the implementation efforts made by PSPC and TBS, and we also recognize the need to do our part in ensuring that all employees have the necessary training and support to navigate this new service delivery model. As such we have been fully engaged in generating constant flow of information to the employees, managers and bargaining agents by communicating information through forums such as all staff and town hall meetings, management meetings and labour-management meetings. The department has a dedicated intranet page which provides the necessary information and web links to assist employees in getting the proper information. Multiple broadcast messages and e-mails are sent to staff and managers to remind them of our ongoing efforts, but more importantly to disseminate the information received from PSPC and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO).

We welcomed the launch of the new OCHRO compensation training modules and are committed to ensuring that employees, managers, human resources and compensation specialists take the necessary training in an effort to reduce processing times, decrease the number of pending section 34 approvals and maintaining data integrity in our HR systems. Our goal is to launch these new training initiatives by early December 2017. We will continue to report on our progress and provide the necessary support to our colleagues at PSPC and OCHRO.

I trust that this information is satisfactory, and look forward to supporting our collective effort to stabilize the pay system.

Sincerely,

Ian Shugart

c.c.: The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Trade

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Ms Diane Jacovella,
Deputy Minister of International Development
Global Affairs Canada

Mr. Timothy Sargent
Deputy Minister of International Trade
Global Affairs Canada

Mr. Les Linklater
Associate Deputy Minister
Public Services and Procurement Canada

Ms. Yaprak Baltacioğlu
Secretary of the Treasury Board
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Ms. Catrina Tapley
Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations)
Privy Council Office

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