Response from Western Economic Diversification

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, suite 332
Ottawa ON K1A 0A3

Dear Michael:

Further to your letter of November 2, 2017, Western Economic Diversification’s (WD) Human Resource (HR) branch has been innovative and aggressive to ensure that our employees are paid accurately and on time.  For context, WD has just over 310 staff and is an integrated department (for example, uses both My GCHR and Phoenix) with in-house compensation services.  WD is in good shape relative to the challenges facing staff in some departments. 

We fully delivered on our commitments for implementing collective agreements, eliminating backlogs, and preventing the need for emergency salary advances. We currently have six cases over thirty days old, down from a high of forty.  To achieve this, examples of specific actions WD has taken include:

  • Implementation of an active offer for salary advancement to students so that they can receive their first paycheque within 2 weeks of starting work
  • Integrating workflows and information between staffing and compensation functions
  • Proactive communications with employees and managers on pay-related matters and direct, personal access to compensation advisors
  • Centralized manual entry of data with higher impact potential (for example, overtime and timesheets for casuals and students, leave without pay less than 5 days)
  • When implementing collective agreement revisions and retroactive payments, we provided each staff member with calculations explaining what to expect based on their personal circumstances
  • We implemented financial controls where, before pay is authorized (section 33), accounting operations sends a list of payroll items to compensation staff for review. Additionally, we have set-up a verification system for work being entered into My GCHR and Phoenix to catch errors by having all entries reviewed by a second person. We also reconcile regular pay/deductions on every employee’s account to ensure accurate T4’s

As demonstrated in the dashboards for non-pay-center departments (enclosed) WD has largely shielded its staff from significant pay/Phoenix challenges and backlogs.  This is a direct result of having in-house compensation staff with years of experience and effective relationships with employees, as well as empowerment of the HR team to manage compensation in the way that they see will serve our employees best and the support we have received from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Office and Public Service Procurement Canada. I encourage WD’s compensation staff to experiment and to take measured risks regarding their work so we can pay our people accurately and on time.

Best regards,

Dylan Jones

c.c.: The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Enclosures

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