Response from Canada School of Public Service

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, Ontario   K1A 0A3

Dear Mr. Wernick:

The Canada School of Public Service (the School) is providing the Clerk of the Privy Council an account of actions we are taking to help stabilize the Phoenix pay system and ensure our employees are paid accurately and on time.

I am deeply committed to ensure that the School supports Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) in raising the awareness of executives, managers and employees regarding their roles and responsibilities with respect to the implementation of the Phoenix pay system.

The School’s contribution as a learning service provider

The School equips public servants with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfill their responsibilities in serving Canadians. In keeping with this mandate, the School hosted PSPC training for executives, managers and employees on GCcampus, our online learning platform. This has ensured timely availability of training for the employees and managers of all the School’s client organizations. On October 19, 2017, the School supported PSPC and TBS by facilitating a session with stakeholders to review priorities and major activities in order to determine improvements to supporting employees and to develop a strategy. It is anticipated that another stakeholder consultation session will take place in January 2018.

The School will continue to provide any assistance PSPC and TBS require to help executives and managers understand their roles and obligations, and to inform employees about available support. Meanwhile, the School continues to host PSPC’s Phoenix-related training and to support client organizations by tracking and reporting on their employees’ completion of the training.

Internal measures currently underway at the School

With respect to employees of the School, the executive team and the Human Resources Division are dedicated to supporting employees.

Due to unique working arrangements at the School, where the services of teaching and leadership faculty members are on an as required basis, Phoenix has had a particular impact.

Mechanisms have been put in place to monitor pay and benefits issues for these employees. Executives and managers have personally and individually reached out to affected employees, an exercise that has proven important in validating PSPC data and helping solve problems in a timely fashion. In addition, managers are also required to address Phoenix at their management meetings to ensure employees feel supported, and to provide opportunities to clarify or resolve emerging issues.

Our Chief Financial Officer and Human Resources teams meet weekly to manage individual cases and to use Emergency Salary Advances where Phoenix system irregularities have arisen.

The School provides support to its employees by analysing their pay issues and offering Emergency Salary Advance and Priority Payments when applicable. The School makes every effort to correct issues by working with the Pay Centre. The School processes Emergency Salary Advances and Priority Payments within two business days of approved employee requests. Employees can also make claims for out-of-pocket expenses related to pay issues.

The School developed a student onboarding process for the 2017–2018 fiscal year to ensure that managers were informed throughout the hiring process on how to best support their student employees, including their pay-related responsibilities. Student pay files were closely monitored to ensure they were accurately reflected in Phoenix. Deadlines for each onboarding step were clearly communicated to managers to avoid delays in compensating students. Letters of offer were sent to the Pay Centre well in advance of start dates to reduce the potential for pay lags. Business processes were tightened and closely tracked.

The School will continue to support its employees in their pay related issues and will ensure proactive measures are in place for new onboarding employees as was done for students.

Future plans

Learning for Public Service

The School will continue to work with PSPC and TBS on their consultation and engagement efforts, and to host and develop training targeted to employees and executives across the public service.

Supporting School Employees

The School will continue to share information with its employees and promote learning and training on the subject, including the HR-to-Pay Stabilization training developed by TBS. School officials will also review and update the organization’s intranet site as a vehicle for internal communication on pay-related topics.

The School prides itself on its ability to adapt to emerging priorities and respond to learning needs across the public service. My team and I remain committed to working with partners and clients across the public service to meet training needs related to the pay system—and to ensuring that the School’s own employees are compensated accurately and promptly.

Please find attached a dashboard that indicates what the School is doing for its employees.

Regards,

Wilma Vreeswijk

c.c. The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada
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