Response from Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

November 8, 2017

Mr. Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A3

Mr. Wernick,

The Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) was created on November 1, 2014 in order to provide support services and facilities to 11 federal administrative tribunals by way of a single integrated organization. The ATSSC processes pay for its employees and the Governor in Council (GIC) appointees through the Phoenix pay system. As such, the ATSSC has retained its compensation staff, responsible for the provision of client support and the direct entry of all pay related matters. A centralized approach in the administration of pay transactions has allowed the ATSSC to minimize processing issues and allows for a direct approach to dealing with staff experiencing pay issues.

The ATSSC has taken a number of steps to ensure its employees are paid in a timely and accurate manner and to support the stabilization of the pay system, focussing on the following key areas:

Centralized processing and client support

The ATSSC provides centralized processing and client support services. This includes providing personalized services to employees and GICs when pay issues occur and adjusting its processes to mitigate these issues:

  • A number of pay transactions are processed by compensation advisors, thus reducing issues arising from self-service functionalities;
  • Salary adjustments and all actions relating to the implementation of newly signed Collective Agreements have been 100% completed within the contractual deadlines;
  • In the event an interruption in pay occurs, every effort is made to inform the employee or GIC in advance of the scheduled pay date;
  • The process for issuing an emergency salary advance has been expedited with deposits occurring within 2 to 4 days of the request being submitted; and
  • Support is provided to employees as part of the TBS Claims process for out-of-pocket expenses related to Phoenix pay issues.

Training and communications

Targeted training and communications, in line with those made available to all GoC departments, have been provided to compensation advisors, employees and managers based on the challenges faced within the ATSSC.

  • ATSSC compensation advisors have completed classroom training on Phoenix, conducted through the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS);
  • All employees and s. 34 managers have been encouraged to complete the CSPS’s Phoenix online training for the respective target audience;
  • The ATSSC has delivered in-house classroom training sessions and offered individual coaching sessions to s. 34 managers, providing an opportunity for this target audience to enhance its knowledge of Phoenix functionalities (self-service and otherwise) and to troubleshoot issues in real-time;
  • The ATSSC has provided quarterly updates to the members of the Labour Management Consultation Committee on Phoenix-related issues affecting ATSSC staff and the strategies adopted to mitigate these issues; and
  • ATSSC has exploited opportunities to troubleshoot Phoenix-related issues with experts at the Center of Expertise and has in turn shared knowledge and best practices with others in the HR community.

Monitoring and controls

The ATSSC has taken measures to enhance s. 33/S.34 controls related to pay transactions, by leveraging team efforts and collaboration between the Human Resources and Finance directorates, more specifically:

  • Closely monitoring transactions known to be problematic with Phoenix; and
  • The random sampling of transactions for accuracy prior to s. 33 being performed; the review of all pay transactions above $5,000; as well as post payment reviews through random samplings.

Inter-departmental working groups and governance

The ATSSC is contributing to whole-of-government efforts where Phoenix is concerned, through its involvement in working groups and governance mechanisms:

  • The ATSSC participated in the extended Interdepartmental Analysis Working Group (root cause analysis on Phoenix issues) from July 2017 to the end of October 2017;
  • The ATSSC is involved at all levels, from operations to Deputy Head, on the HR-to-Pay governance committees, with the purpose of sharing best practices and recommending enhancements as it relates to Phoenix functionalities and the overall service delivery model; and
  • The ATSSC continues to participate in monthly inter-departmental meetings for direct entry organizations, as well as bi-weekly inter-departmental meetings led by Public Services and Procurement Canada.

The ATSSC will continue to focus its efforts on Training and Communications, an area of opportunity to support further stabilization. Specific actions to which the ATSSC is committed includes:

  • Leveraging the new training on Phoenix, available through the CSPS later this fall, for employees, managers and compensation advisors;
  • Developing revised communications to inform employees on how 2017 T4 slips will be handled government-wide for those employees in an over- or under-payment situation;
  • Disseminating regular reminders to employees on the importance of maintaining up-to-date employee profile information within enterprise-wide systems; and
  • Reviewing internal business processes associated with acting appointments, to allow for a more proactive management of acting situations and reduce the potential for errors in pay transactions.

The ATSSC is fortunate it has the ability to anticipate and generally mitigate pay issues for its employees and GICs. A large part of this success is due to its capable and dedicated Compensation and Finance professionals, who work diligently at understanding how to process pay transactions within Phoenix and monitor closely to ensure issues are avoided or, at the very least, dealt with expeditiously.

Sincerely,

Originally signed by

Marie-France Pelletier

cc. The Honorable Jody Wilson-Raybould

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