Response from Transportation Safety Board of Canada

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

November 9, 2017

Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Privy Council Office
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A3

Dear Mr. Wernick:

This is in response to your request received November 6, 2017 concerning challenges posed by the new Phoenix pay system, and the actions taken by our department to stabilize the pay system and ensure that our employees are compensated accurately and on time.

First, as a small government department, and in preparation for pay modernization initiatives, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) outsourced its compensation services to the Ottawa-based Shared HR Services team at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in 2013-14. To date, these services have proven to be satisfactory to the TSB and without any significant issues up to the implementation of the Phoenix pay system on April 1, 2016.

Additionally, in order to maintain operational consistency and client services, the TSB created a and staffed a Compensation Coordinator position in 2014-15 as a specialized in-house resource to assist and advise employees on compensation and benefits matters, while also ensuring corporate capacity to respond to central agency requirements and liaise with Shared HR Services as required.

Prior to the implementation of Phoenix, the TSB was on-boarded to the new HR information system My GCHR in October 2015. This migration from the legacy HRIS involved a significant amount of effort to conduct data-mapping, data clean-up, and ongoing reporting and training to ensure a smooth transition. Subsequent to this process, the TSB again undertook significant effort to prepare for the launch of Phoenix which included further data clean-up, special training for HR, and mandatory training for all managers and employees.

Given the government-wide challenges associated with the implementation of the new Phoenix pay system, the TSB has undertaken a number of internal measures.  First, to ensure that part-time employees, students, and casuals are paid in an accurate and timely manner, the direct Phoenix entry of hours worked has been stopped and replaced with a manual timesheet process until the pay system fully stabilizes. Additionally, our Finance Division conducts a manual section 33 review and verification, by individual employee, to identify unusual / irregular / missing compensation payments. This has allowed the TSB to ensure that corrective measures are taken in a timely manner such as the immediate issuance of emergency salary advances to employees who have not received proper compensation through Phoenix. Finally, the aforementioned Compensation Coordinator assists TSB employees by liaising with Shared HR Services (PSPC) to identify and resolve outstanding issues to the extent possible. 

Staff in the TSB HR Division and compensation experts at Shared HR Services (PSPC) maintain networks within their respective communities and continue to actively participate in HR systems training opportunities as they are developed and delivered by central agencies. The TSB continues to respond, via Shared HR Services (PSPC), on a regular basis, to reporting and data requests from the HR Management Transformation Sector of TBS. The resulting departmental dashboards are reviewed by the TSB Manager Human Resources and the Director General, Corporate Services which prompt follow-up action as required. Issues of concern are escalated by the TSB HR and Finance Divisions to Shared HR Services (PSPC) during conference calls.

The TSB communicates developments in pay administration regularly to its managers and employees, and in particular, progress made on the implementation of the new Collective Agreements. On this note, I am informed by Shared HR Services (PSPC) that as of November 1, 2017, TSB employees have received all amounts owed relating to signing bonuses, pay increases, and retroactive payments. This being said, the TSB continues to face challenges with regards to overpayments resulting from the Phoenix pay system which must be recovered from employees over the coming weeks and months, as well as the timely completion of employee transfers between departments. The TSB continues to maintain regular communications with its compensation services provider to actively monitor and manage these compensation issues as they arise.

The timely resolution of challenges associated with the pay system is an on-going concern for the TSB and its employees. Despite the additional workload, our corporate services staff remains engaged in resolving issues to the extent possible. However, given our small size and our use of an external service provider, we are heavily reliant upon leadership from the center for the timely stabilization of the pay system.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Fox
Chair

c.c. J. L. Laporte
L. Casault

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