Response from Correctional Service of Canada

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Room 1000, 85 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3

Dear Mr. Wernick,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide information on the actions taken by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to help stabilize the pay system, as well as planned actions we are taking moving forward.

As you know, CSC pay processing requirements are complex; higher volumes of acting requirements, multiple premiums and allowances, leave usage and accommodation management, means that unresolved pay period issues are more negatively impacting pay processing requirements in subsequent periods. These regular pay processing challenges have also compounded our collective agreement implementation activities. Despite unprecedented efforts across this organization, employee pay issues and back log volumes remain among the highest across the public service.

Recognizing these risks, CSC has developed, and continues to pursue, a range of options to better leverage the corporate knowledge and experience of our legacy compensation staff, while at the same time raising concerns about the limitations of a transaction-based strategy.

To ensure the scope of work activities undertaken by CSC Phoenix Support teams is represented, you will find attached a detailed appendix for reference. Having said that, I am also providing key milestones around the work accomplished to date and our stabilization plans for the future.

Establish HR to pay support teams

At the outset of the Phoenix roll-out, it was clear that end-users needed assistance in terms of defining their roles, work processes and accountabilities related to the new pay system. These challenges required that CSC provide additional support and expertise directly to managers and employees. CSC’s HR Service delivery model was adapted early in the implementation phase to meet this need by expanding the service offerings of CSC’s HR Service Centre beyond support to managers to include service provisions to employees. The HR Service Centre provides direct access to managers and employees to knowledgeable HR Service Agents via a toll-free phone line and generic email account across all time zones. The services offered include the provision of general information on how to liaise with the pay centre, review of employee pay issues to ensure departmental accountabilities have been met, acting as a trusted source for communication with the Pay Centre and working internally with partners to resolve complex cases through various escalation means using a robust ticket management system. This fiscal year to date, the HR Service Centre manages on average 1300 general inquiries specific to pay on a monthly basis via the Connect-Contact-Consult model. The HR Service Centre continues to provide a valuable entry point for CSC employees and managers that is beneficial on a number of levels, including the reduction of direct interfaces on non-complex inquiries with the Pay Centre. Moving forward, further expansion to our ticket management system will be leveraged to establish departmental trends to enhance existing support measures and tools for managers and employees.

In addition to this HR service support structure, CSC established protocols and a Regional finance service delivery strategy to manage what we thought would be normal emergency salary advance/ priority payment contingency requirements with the transition to a new system. However, support needs for this group quickly exceeded expected levels of demand, not only due to the volume of zero pay situations in the on-boarding period but also due the fact employees were looking for someone to fill the pay advisory support gap. These teams were critical to the department’s ability to manage the pay risks for a large number of our employees during these early months.

The accessibility of these and other HR support services coupled with our commitment to ensuring the regular flow of Pay Centre and departmental updates, tools and work process information through agents, bulletins, notices, web updates, union briefings and targeted coaching for users, allowed us to fill many of the change management short falls of the implementation plan. These efforts were and continue to be a critical element in our support network for employees.

PSPC satellite office pilot

CSC’s self-funded pilot was one of the first joint partnerships with PSPC Satellite offices in January of 2017 to promote the benefits of a whole employee resolution approach to case file management, while supporting more direct departmental based coincidental HRMS and Phoenix entry support. These joint efforts allowed us to make significant progress in the management of a number of cases and also helped validate the benefits of broadening departmental HRMS and Phoenix entry accountabilities to address timeliness challenges.

The lessons from these pilot efforts allowed us to properly focus our the Departmental Stabilization Plan for the non-harvest funds toward (1) enhancing our capacity for timely, accurate front-end processing, (2) increasing our advisory service support, training and coaching for managers, employees and Phoenix support staff, and (3) enhance our pay system work around, verification and reconciliation activities.

CSC specific pay services unit (Fall 2017)

A Memorandum of Agreement between PSPC and CSC has been finalized to build a Pay Services Unit (PSU) that will pair former CSC compensation employees with current PSPC satellite staff (who came from CSC) to exclusively target CSC back log inventories, collective agreement implementation and escalation case management from a whole employee approach. The joint plan sees this unit evolving into an exclusive CSC pay processing unit for all our future pay transactions, which will allow more effective sharing of subject matter and new system expertise knowledge and development.

Auto load one time pay (ALOTP)

CSC is piloting a broader use of ALOTP option through the development and expansion of functionality within the corporate Scheduling and Deployment System (SDS). The option would allow automatic pay file creation and approvals for processing, while also piloting the possibility of supporting a manual tool for file creation and approvals for shift worker groups whose schedules are not managed within an automated system. 

Both of these situations have called upon CSC to develop and implement supplementary pre- and post pay file verification and control protocols on the creation of such pay files internally, to ensure the integrity of pay outs from the systems. Again, these opportunities have and will provide stabilization plan options that will not only ensure more timely and complete pay processing for our shift workers but also assist in significantly reducing future pay centre PAR processing volumes. CSC will be looking to expand the use of our SDS system to support the pay processing of our other shift workers and also exploring with other government departments in and outside the Public Safety portfolio, whether this system option could be applied to their own shift worker pay processing challenges.

Partnerships and collaboration

Officials from this organization and I have also maintained a very active engagement in various working group activities taking place over the past 20 months. I remain committed to continuing and potentially expanding this level of involvement as the HR to Pay working groups and action plans evolve in the coming months.

Finally, I would echo some of the concerns of our partners, specifically relative to our ability to meet the challenge of ensuring our subject matter experts continue to support these sector project efforts, while they also support internal action plans and regular pay processing. We also remain concerned about the financial requirements to maintain existing activities and new efforts during the go-forward period of stabilization work and beyond. The continuing pay issues are increasingly more impactful on program activities and work place relations, both directly (e.g. employee engagement, motivation, absenteeism, funding risks, etc.) and indirectly (e.g. re-directed support staff, voluntary acting, labour activity, etc.).

In closing, I remain committed to meeting these challenges and contributing to our collective efforts to move toward greater stabilization.

Should you have any questions or seek any additional information relating to our submission, my team will be available to provide their support.

Sincerely,

Don Head

cc. The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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