Response from Department of Finance
Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Privy Council Office
Ottawa, Ontario KlA 0A3
Dear Mr. Wernick,
In response to your letter dated November 2, 2017, I am pleased to outline the Department of Finance’s actions taken to date to ensure our employees are paid accurately and on time, as well as our planned actions to help stabilize the pay system.
The primary resource of the Department of Finance is its people. Staff in the Department are motivated, dedicated and work hard, each and every day. The entire management team in the Department has, therefore, been concerned that our staff receive the pay that they are due.
When the situation first came to the Department's attention, the Executive team was provided with weekly updates so that we could monitor the situation and ensure that all branches in the Department were informed and taking coordinated action to deal with pay issues. Managers were asked to speak to employees and to notify our Human Resources Directorate of all issues related to pay. Our primary concern was, and remains, to ensure that any employee affected receives support to help them understand their situation and, when required, to provide them with emergency pay. The details of the Department's actions are set out below.
In 2015, an internal Liaison Office was established to perform duties that were not moved to the Public Service Pay Centre and to provide support to the Human Resources specialists during the transition phase of pay services. With the Phoenix implementation in early 2016, the Liaison Office began to serve as a main point of contact for employees and managers seeking resolution of their pay issues. This office answers employee questions and discusses cases with Public Services and Procurement Canada (the Pay Centre as well as the Phoenix team). It also ensures departmental systems and processes continue to align to the pay system.
The Liaison Office is complemented by a multi-disciplinary team of human resource, financial and accounting specialists. These specialists analyze pay issues and work together to provide timely emergency pay when warranted. This integrated team works closely with our internal communications group to ensure regular and timely messaging to employees. Furthermore, the Liaison Office provides timely reporting of pay issues to various levels of management and actively seeks to identify all outstanding pay issues to evaluate potential systemic problems. It works to achieve this through communications and reports to Branch heads to identify employees with pay issues. On an ongoing basis, I am briefed bi-weekly by my Assistant Deputy Minister of the Corporate Services Branch on the latest pay issues that affect the employees of the Department.
The Department of Finance has taken on some of the data entry responsibilities of the Pay Centre in order to avoid overpaying employees who are taking leave without pay and to pay them in a timely manner upon their return. The Department is in the process of adding experienced compensation advisors to our Liaison Office to further enhance our current services to our employees and is in negotiation with Public Services and Procurement Canada to gain direct access to Phoenix in order to correct and adjust, as required, employees' pay information.
The attached table provides detailed information on the Department's actions taken to date and planned actions to help stabilize the pay system and ensure employees are paid on time.
I continue to be committed to supporting and assisting departmental employees through these challenging circumstances and I am prepared to support the initiatives aimed at resolving the issues currently facing the public service.
Should your staff require additional information regarding the Department of Finance’s actions to support the stabilization of the pay system, please have them contact Anna Di Meglio, Acting Director, Programs, Policies, and Transformation in Human Resources at (613) 369-3497.
c.c.: Hon. William Francis Morneau, P.C., M.P.
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