Response from Natural Resources Canada
Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Privy Council Office
80 Wellington Street, suite 332
Ottawa ON K1. 0A3
Dear Mr. Wernick:
Thank you for your correspondence of November 2 regarding stabilization of the pay system. The problems with pay have had an immeasurable impact on public servants and the public service as a whole. Due to pay errors, people in our organization and across government are struggling financially and emotionally. We must find rapid solutions to fix the underlying problems and achieve stability in our pay system, foremost for those people who are impacted and so that government as a whole can return its attention to our work.
At Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), our approach is to provide quick answers to the individuals dealing with pay issues, to provide clear and continuous messages to employees, to contribute meaningfully to government-wide solutions and to support NRCan’s senior management by following and assessing progress.
My executive team and I have discussed pay issues regularly at our Executive Committee and labour-management committee meetings to assess our situation and determine mitigating strategies. In co-operation with my colleague, Marie Lemay, NRCan was one of the first to negotiate direct access to Phoenix by Compensation employees working within our department. Since 2016, we have established within the department a multi-level governance and advisory framework to respond to and participate in government-wide HR-to-Pay efforts via different working committees and groups.
Since its creation in April 2016, the NRCan Pay Liaison Office (PLO) has reacted proactively by approving emergency salary advances and priority payments to employees experiencing pay issues and by following up with them on the status of their pay issues.
NRCan also provides Compensation support to the Pay Centre to help reduce the backlog. We are working to increase that specialized workforce in order to continue supporting our employees experiencing pay issues.
NRCan developed a communication plan (Annex A) relying on several communication mechanisms aimed at keeping its employees abreast of the latest developments related to pay and Phoenix, the training sessions available to them and their roles and responsibilities regarding pay.
In order to continue to improve the stabilization of the pay system, we ask that the Integrated Action Plan be completed as soon as possible and that rigorous effort be dedicated to project management throughout its implementation. As we work together to implement the Plan, we believe it will be necessary to co-manage the expert resources at our collective disposal to ensure that key functions within Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), as well as within departments, are adequately staffed. From a very practical perspective, departmental access to live data on the status of employees’ pay cases is a gap that we would like to see filled as soon as possible.
Please be assured that my executive team and I are committed to ongoing contribution to the government-wide undertaking to solve pay issues, both for our own employees and for the system as a whole. I look forward to further discussion about how NRCan can be involved in implementing the Integrated Action Plan to stabilize pay.
I am pleased to inform you of the actions NRCan’s senior management and HR team have taken to contribute to the departmental and government-wide effort to stabilize pay, as well as to ensure our own employees’ pay is accurate and on time. Annex B describes all the initiatives that NRCan has taken and will take to contribute to the stabilization of pay, and Annex C shows the trends in NRCan’s Pay issues.
c.c.: L’honorable Jim Carr, Ministre des Ressources naturelles Canada
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