Justin Trudeau – Senior bureaucrats managing problem-plagued Phoenix pay system received nearly $2M in bonuses
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In 2019-2020, 38 executives involved with the Phoenix pay system were paid $554,749 in performance pay or bonuses. In 2018-2019, 32 executives were paid $479,641.
In 2017-2018, 24 executives were paid $341,795, while in 2016-2017, 12 executives were paid $175,202 and in 2015-2016, 10 were paid $143,508. The document notes that executives were not paid performance pay in 2015-2016.
“Ensuring public servants are paid accurately and on time is a top priority,” the document says. “Pay and pension services are essential and we have the resources in place to make sure they are operating without interruption.”
The failures of the Phoenix pay system, launched in 2016 across 34 government departments, were at their worst in early 2018, when the backlog of requests to fix pay mistakes, such as too much or too little pay, was at 384,000 requests. By June 2020, those requests had dropped to 125,000.
The auditor general, in 2018, called Phoenix an “incomprehensible failure of project management and oversight.”
There have also been controversies over performance pay in the past. But the government has defended them as being linked to targets in fixing the problems with the Phoenix pay system, which led to tens of thousands of federal public servants being paid improperly since its implementation.
In an odd quirk, the government, at present, is proceeding with a new system to replace Phoenix, which should be ready to go by 2023, even as Phoenix’s problems are on their way to being solved.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer, in 2019, estimated that getting Phoenix functional would cost some $2.6 billion, and a replacement system would cost $57 million to put in place, plus $106 million to operate each year.
The federal government did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
With files from the Ottawa Citizen
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