Response from National Energy Board

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

November 09, 2017

Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
80 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario  KIA OA3

Dear. Mr. Wernick:

Thank you for your letter about the continued response to the challenges posed by the pay system.

The National Energy Board (NEB) continues to experience the same challenges as the rest of the public service in relation to the pay system, however, to a much lesser extent. Part of the reason for this is because we have an in-house team of compensation advisors. This has been a great benefit to us in implementing all the changes and in working with our employees to manage the issues that have arisen.

Both senior leadership and our team of compensation professionals have implemented a number of actions to mitigate, to the extent possible, challenges in processing pay.

The following actions have been implemented to date:

  • Increased the size of our compensation team by hiring six new indeterminate compensation advisors to complement the existing team of three.
  • Worked with Pay Advisory, PSPC, Edmonton to deliver three sessions of Phoenix training for our compensation advisors.
  • Worked with Pay Advisory, PSPC, Edmonton to deliver Pay Administration Training for those compensation advisors and compensation managers that were new to federal pay administration and to those that required a refresher.
  • Authorized overtime for compensation team members to complete time sensitive transactions.
  • Implemented the $2500.00 retention allowance for compensation advisors, effective June 14, 2017.
  • Have implemented an informal “pilot” whereby a senior compensation advisor works with more junior staff to coach them on compensation and benefits and Phoenix processing and to address the more complex files.
  • Assigned a compensation advisor with a strong finance and auditing background to conduct an extensive pay audit of each employee’s pay account to determine the extent of over and underpayments. Once the audit is complete, a strategic approach will be implemented to correct those errors.
  • Ensured proactivity related to the implementation of the new NEB/PIPSC collective agreement by working with PSPC Ottawa to identify and request resolution of known issues that will impact the payment of retroactive salaries.
  • Kept employees and managers apprised of all pay-related issues through emails, updates on the Intranet and through meetings. In fact, on the NEB intranet homepage, a section is dedicated to compensation notices so that employees can easily read any updates related to pay and benefits.
  • Demonstrated a caring, timely, and client-centered approach whenever an employee did not receive their regular pay. Compensation quickly informed the employee of the issue and worked with finance to process emergency salary advances within two days of the scheduled payday.
  • Submitted the bi-weekly data for the production of dashboard data and the quarterly over and underpayment reports to OCHRO.
  • For “transfer-in” employees, whose previous federal government employer was not going to pay them until the pay file transferred to the NEB, emergency salary advances were issued to mitigate negative financial impact to employees.
  • Processed “transfers-out” within two weeks so that the Pay Centre would have timely access to employees’ pay account as soon as possible, so as not to delay the processing of their pay through the Pay Centre.
  • There is a dedicated web page on the NEB Intranet that instructs employees on how to update their contact information so that tax slips are based on the province of residence for tax deductions.

The following actions will be undertaken in the future:

  • The NEB has not delivered the OCHRO HR-to-Pay training due to other training that had to take precedence. However, plans are underway to deliver this training in the new calendar year.
  • We will continue using a client-focused approach to address pay issues, in a timely manner with an aim to mitigating any negative impact to employees.
  • We will actively participate on conference calls with PSPC to obtain updates to job-aids so that our compensation advisors received the most updated instructions related to pay processing.
  • We will continue to meet mandatory reporting requirements, enabling the federal government to assess the extent of pay issues in order to develop strategic public service wide initiatives to resolve issues.

We appreciate the work that is being done to resolve issues and will continue to work in partnership with PSPC and OCHRO to stabilize pay for NEB employees.

Yours sincerely,

C. Peter Watson, P. Eng., FCAE Chair and CEO

c.c.:  Les Linklater, Associate Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Yaprak Baltacioglu, Secretary of the Treasury Board
Catrina Tapley, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations), Privy Council Office

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