Response from Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
November 9, 2017
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
80 Wellington Street, Room 332
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3
Dear Mr. Wernick:
Further to your correspondence dated November 2, 2017 (enclosed), I am pleased to provide you details pertaining to the work undertaken at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to assist in the collective efforts of the Government of Canada to work towards the stabilization of the Phoenix pay system.
The CNSC is a direct entry organization, and is not serviced by the Pay Centre in Miramichi. Therefore, we have a full team of experienced Compensation Advisors supporting our managers and employees. Since the roll-out of Phoenix in April 2016, our team has worked diligently to mitigate the challenges of Phoenix by providing hands-on guidance and support to employees and managers using the new system, by ensuring minimal disruption to pay, and by quickly addressing any adverse financial impacts on our salary and budgetary reporting. This has been critically important as the implementation of Phoenix has coincided with a significant organizational renewal initiative at the CNSC, involving the replacement of approximately 10% of our workforce. In addition to these internal efforts, we have also been contributing time and energy to support the greater efforts of Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to reach a stable system.
With respect to our efforts to ensure that employees are paid accurately and on time, the following activities have been part of our strategy since the roll-out of Phoenix:
- Managers and employees were encouraged to take the initial online training modules offered by the Canada School of Public Service and additional learning tools, and resources specific to our organization were created for our employees;
- The CNSC Compensation team hosted numerous drop-in sessions for employees and managers to sign-on to Phoenix, get a personalized walk-through of the system, and bring any questions or problems to be resolved with one-on-one assistance;
- Lessons learned and resources were and are continually communicated to our staff (we have created our own internal Phoenix webpage to host all pay-related information, tools and updates);
- Compensation Advisors continue to work one-on-one with staff to assist them with questions or difficulties related to inputting time and data into Phoenix on a daily basis;
- Compensation Advisors review pay transactions and follow the progress of those transactions in the Phoenix pay system to ensure completion of the file in an accurate manner; our Financial Officers work collaboratively with the compensation team to compare salary expenses with projected expenses to make sure payments were paid accordingly and liaise with the Compensation Advisors and responsibility center managers (as required) in situations when clarification is required;
- Our Compensation Advisors and Financial Officers with s.33 approval authority spend significant time ensuring managers are approving time in a timely manner so as not to create over or under payments to employees (the Compensation team has created follow-up notifications/reminders in managers’ calendars on when approvals are due);
- Where there were/are problems with an employee’s pay, the Compensation Advisor works with colleagues in Finance to offer an Emergency Salary Advance (ESA) for any missed pay or greatly reduced pay amounts; these efforts produce an ESA that is deposited directly into an employee’s account within a 24 to 48 hour turnaround (usually deposited on pay day or shortly thereafter);
- We have a dedicated compensation team that have put in significant overtime hours so that our employees receive the best possible service and issues are caught before they affect the employee’s pay; as a result, the CNSC has hired additional staff (two additional full-time resources as well as two casual employees, doubling our compensation team resources) to strengthen the support and services we offer to our staff; and
- In January 2017, we proactively hired a tax consultant who was able to provide individually adapted tax impact assessments and advice where T4 issues were known to exist.
It must also be noted that we have recently had to introduce additional manual verification measures to ensure we continue to achieve clean annual audits of our financial statements. This has positively contributed to our commitment to ensure appropriate payments to employees. Specifically, the CNSC has implemented the post-verification of every employee pay in order to provide assurance that the year-end salary expenses included in the CNSC’s audited financial statements are complete and accurate. It is expected that this additional manual effort will amount to approximately 4 additional full-time resources on an ongoing basis.
Our support to help stabilize the Phoenix pay system has also been ongoing and I can share that our team continues to participate in the following activities:
- Our Compensation team works in conjunction with other direct entry departments and meets on a monthly basis to provide support to one another and share lessons learned (direct entry departments and agencies have very different issues from Peoplesoft or My GCHR departments that are serviced by Miramichi);
- We offered a representative from our compensation team to work on the working groups hosted by PSPC to develop new training tools;
- Representatives from the CNSC compensation team participated in the Root Cause Analysis workshops over the summer to help the PSPC Phoenix project team to identify ongoing issues;
- We continue to contribute to the ongoing monitoring of progress through timely updates to the departmental dashboards and other ongoing reporting requirements; and
- The Compensation team continues to keep informed about Phoenix updates and changes in process by attending all Phoenix Direct entry meetings.
As a testament to our commitment to mitigate impacts on employees, we have successfully hired over 100 employees in the last two years as part of our renewal initiative and have averted serious Phoenix implementation issues. These efforts have been sincerely appreciated by our management and employees.
Our future strategies will continue to build on these efforts. As Phoenix progresses towards a more steady state, we continue to keep ourselves informed of developments and their potential impact on our organization and our employees. You have our commitment to continue to contribute in any way we can towards the stabilization of Phoenix.
Original signed by
c.c.: The Honourable James Gordon Carr, Minister of Natural Resources
Les Linklater, Associate Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Yaprak Baltacioğlu, Secretary of the Treasury Board
Catrina Tapley, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations), Privy Council Office
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