News / Ottawa

New minister appointed as Phoenix numbers trend in wrong direction

B.C. MP Carla Qualtrough to take over troubled file.

The troubled Phoenix Pay system will have a new minister trying to solve the problem, just a new numbers show it’s not getting any better.

British Columbia MP Carla Qualtrough, who had been the minister of sport and persons with disabilities, was appointed Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada in a cabinet shuffle Monday.

Qualtrough said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear that solving the problem should be a top priority. She said public servants have dealt with the problem for far too long.

“I would like to reiterate this is an unacceptable situation. You deserve to be paid and you deserve to be paid properly for the work that you’ve done,” she said.

Chris Aylward, executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said they welcomed the new minister.

“Our priority remains that our members get paid and get paid on time and accurately.”

He said he’s concerned numbers are trending in the wrong direction, but believes new contracts implemented over the summer could have been part of the problem.

He said there is no magic bullet, but he’s encouraged Qualtrough wants to make it a priority.  

“We have been working with her department for a year and a half trying to improve this and trying to fix this. I think everyone realizes there is no quick fix.”

Public Services and Procurement Canada released numbers Monday on open cases, showing they had 237,000 transactions above and beyond the 80,000 cases they expect in a given month. That’s up from 228,000 cases at the end of July.

The government received another 80,000 cases in the last month, but processed about 71,000, adding to the backlog.

Despite the added number of cases, the government was increasing the number of cases that are dealt with in their targeted time frame, which rose from 35 per cent of cases to 49 per cent of cases but is still well short of the target of having 95 per cent of cases dealt within service standards.

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