News / Ottawa

Government will miss target to resolve Phoenix pay system problems

Most of outstanding cases will be resolved, but not all

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Marie Lemay

Justin Tang / The Canadian Press

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Marie Lemay

The federal government is unlikely to meet its self-imposed deadline for dealing with a backlog of problems with its Phoenix pay system.

So far 51,000 of the 80,000 problem cases have been resolved, and the government should be close to clearing all of them by Oct. 31, said Marie Lemay, deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

“We believe the bulk of our backlog will be eliminated by this date, however it is possible we will have more cases that will require additional time,” she said during an update Wednesday.

She said the remaining cases will involve more complex issues.

“We are processing some transactions that date back several years, so a fair amount of research is required,” she said.

She said the additional staff the government had brought in to deal with the problem are working as hard as they could to address the problem.  

“These individuals have been regularly working evenings, weekends,” she said. “Everyone is fully committed.”

Dealing with the large backlog has also delayed resolution of new problems that have popped up in the system.

Chris Aylward, national executive-vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said that’s one of the major concerns of his members.

He said the union told the government their Oct. 31 deadline was not achievable and members are worried these issues could drag into the new year.

“They’re flying by the seat of their pants and it’s getting very frustrating for our members who are not being paid,” he said.

Aylward said the union plans to take the issue to court to force the government to get the system working.

Lemay said they are going to hold onto the extra staff, brought in to deal with the backlog, until the system is working as expected.

“Those transactions will start flowing a lot better and our service standards are going to start increasing," she said.

More on