Response from Public Safety

From Public Services and Procurement 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 letter of November 2, 2017, in which you requested to be informed of actions taken and planned by departments to help stabilize the pay system, and for sharing the support document providing ways departments can assist HR-to-Pay efforts.

As part of a concerted and focused strategy to address the issues raised by the new pay system, Public Safety (PS) undertook the following actions outlined below.

First, we made investments and structural changes:

  • Additional temporary resources were hired to educate employees and managers about their roles and about the new system, as proposed by PSPC as part of the change management plan
  • Once it became clear that monitoring and problem-solving were required, we built a Human Resources (HR)/Finance Tiger Team to ensure appropriate financial controls were in place, that appropriate authorities are being respected, and that pay actions are approved in a timely manner
    • We estimated costs for this work of about $600K for 2016-17, and are projecting costs of about $700K for 2017-18, and 2018-19
    • We estimated 1,226 overtime hours of work incurred in 2016-17 due to the pay issues
    • Prior to pay consolidation/Phoenix, the department spent approximately $639K per year to administer pay
  • When we received the request to provide assistance to the pay stabilization efforts, two PS employees were sent to the Pay Centre’s Satellite Office

Next, we also made changes to our processing in response to the difficulties with the new pay system:

  • PS centralized the HR Trusted source function for the department to ensure accuracy of information sent to the Pay Centre for processing. Daily quality assurance reviews are conducted on staffing information that is entered into the Human Resources Management System (HRMS). This allows us to verify data integrity and correct any errors that might impact employees’ pay before the pay action is completed
  • We are in the process of putting into place a Client Service Centre for the centralisation of our Trusted Source, Compensation Liaison and HRMS support functions. This will allow us to triage outstanding employee queries and overall better support our employees by providing them with a “one-window” service model
  • The Comptrollership team in PS implemented the following controls in order to mitigate identified risks:
    • A salary overpayment identification and monitoring tool
    • “Stop salary payment” controls
    • Section 33 verification controls
    • “Employee transfers out” recovery controls
    • Emergency Salary Advance controls
  • PS participates in a weekly teleconference with the Pay Centre departmental Liaison Officer, at which time system integration issues or critical employee situations are raised and discussed
  • The reports received from the Pay Centre are also used to identify trends and follow outstanding cases. Updates on Pay Transformation and Phoenix are provided regularly at PS departmental management tables, at the Departmental Audit Committees and at Labour Management meetings
  • Information regarding Phoenix is provided to new employees as part of the onboarding program. The onboarding process now includes setting up vendor numbers in SAP for new employees to expedite and facilitate the issuance and direct deposit of Emergency Salary Advances or Priority Payments, if required

Finally, we put a communications strategy in place to complement the information provided by the Pay Center and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).

  • PSPC information is promptly disseminated to staff and posted on our Intranet site, which includes pay related links and information
  • We have organized information sessions with staff and completed training developed by PSPC
  • A communications blitz is planned for the end of the month which will launch the re-design of our Pay and Benefits Section of our Intranet site to highlight Tips and Tricks. This will include InfoBulletin Blitz/calendar invitations on the Monday of every pay week reminding Section 34 managers to check for transactions pending approval

Although we cannot solve most pay problems directly, additional efforts are made to diagnose problems and support employees in identifying issues and guiding them through the process of reporting them to the Pay Centre.

The team at PS understands the gravity of the situation and continues to work collaboratively and diligently to find solutions, identify root causes, and ensure attention is brought to cases in an effort to resolve the challenges in the new pay system.

Sincerely,

Malcolm Brown

c.c.: The Honourable Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P.

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