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Changes Announced to the Ministry – August 19

Changes Announced to the Ministry – August 19

August 19, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

This afternoon it was announced that:

Dominic LeBlanc, currently Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, will now be dedicated solely to his role as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Mr. LeBlanc will also assume additional responsibilities in the coming days.

Bardish Chagger retains her role as Minister of Small Business and Tourism and also becomes Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister thanked Minister LeBlanc for his immense contributions as Government House Leader and expressed his confidence in Minister Chagger as a worthy successor.

Other Links

Read the biographies here.

Read the official press release on the Prime Minister’s website here.

LeadersGC Spotlights Virtual Teams on August 18

LeadersGC Spotlights Virtual Teams on August 18

August 8, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

All public servants are invited to the next LeadersGC event on Thursday August 18 at 8 p.m. (EDT), where the topic of discussion will be virtual teams.

The President of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), Janet King, will be the special guest Executive host for this event:

In the spirit of the topic, Ms. King will host the event live from Iqaluit.

In the meantime before the next event, all public servants can participate in the #LeadersGC discussion on Twitter and catch up on highlights from past series below:

  1. November 5, 2015 – “Embrace the Social Leader in You” with Andrew Treusch
  2. November 12, 2015 – “The Essence of Social Leadership” with Nancy Chahwan
  3. November 19, 2015 – “Building the Workforce of the Future” with Denise Amyot
  4. November 26, 2015 – “Engagement and Pride in the Public Service” with Clerk Janice Charette
  5. January 21, 2016 – “Raising Awareness Around Mental Health and Stopping the Stigma” with Debbie Beresford-Green
  6. February 18, 2016 – “Leadership and Innovation in the Public Service” with Graham Flack
  7. March 17, 2016 – “Official Languages in the Public Service” with Graham Fraser and Donna Achimov
  8. April 15, 2016 – “Coaching and Mentoring in the Public Service” with Dan Couture
  9. April 20, 2016 – “Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair: Recruitment in the Public Service” with Anne Marie Smart
  10. May 19, 2016 – “23rd Annual Report and Priorities for the Public Service” with Clerk Michael Wernick
  11. June 16, 2016 – “Celebrating Diversity in the Public Service” with Christine Donoghue
  12. July 14, 2016 – “Celebrating Wellness in the Public Service” with Yaprak Baltacioglu
Clerk Breaks Silence on Phoenix and Shared Services Canada

Clerk Breaks Silence on Phoenix and Shared Services Canada

August 4, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Clerk Michael Wernick gave a one-on-one interview last week, opening up about the embattled Phoenix pay system and the constant criticism from public servants and departments of Shared Services Canada (SSC).

Shared Services Canada

If anyone was hoping for the slightest possibility that the public service might do a 180 on its IT approach and devolve SSC, returning IT ownership to individual departments, think again.

“We have no choice but to move forward with SSC. The idea that over 300 federal organizations were going to fix and modernize and recapitalize their IT, one at a time, by going to Treasury Board and Finance and building independent systems, is a fantasy scenario. We had to do it together.”

The Clerk was asked if he’d given any direction to SSC since he became Clerk, “No, we have an accountable deputy minister and head of SSC. I have told the deputy minister community that Shared Services Canada is here to stay, and we need an agency that is a service provider that is listening and open to its clients, and we need clients that are willing to work and engage with the service provider. When those relationships work well then we do very well.”

But when asked how he thought SSC had been operating thus far, the Clerk replied, “It’s a work in progress, obviously. Shared Services Canada is barely three and a half years old. It is a massive undertaking to transform IT of the largest organization in the country.

The only way to have adequate cyber protection around the information that departments are the custodians of is to have a strong perimeter defence. And the only way to do that — and this has been said many times by the head of the Communication Security Establishment — is to put departments and agencies behind the firewalls and the defences of Shared Services Canada.

So there are transition issues of migrating from where we have been to where we need to go, but I am quite determined that we have to have shared IT infrastructure in the government of Canada.”

Phoenix

Next, the Clerk was asked about his reaction to learning that public servants had to quit their jobs because of the problems associated with the public service pay system, Phoenix.

“Every department and agency in the federal government has the ability to issue emergency cheques and advances, and there is no reason for anybody to be without cash. And in many of the cases that have popped up in the media, people have, in fact, been given cash advances against the compensation that they’re owed.

The best thing for people to do is to go to the website, file their case online, or call the call centre and make sure that the pay file catches up with them, but there is no reason for anybody to be without cash.”

Other Links

Follow the Clerk on Facebook here.

Read the full length interview here.

Deputy Minister for Phoenix Provides Update – July 28

Deputy Minister for Phoenix Provides Update – July 28

August 2, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The Deputy Minister responsible for overseeing the implementation of Phoenix provided another update to all public servants last week, saying that the timeline for resolving pay issues would run until the end of October.

At the same time, public servants took to social media to demand accountability, and compensation advisors reiterated that neither senior management, nor unions listened years ago when they advised that Phoenix wouldn’t work, nor did unions protect those who were faced with losing their jobs:

“Not only did mgt not listen, the unions didn’t listen nor did they stand up for us.”

In last week’s update, there was news that a new call centre has been established in Toronto with 100 agents and more to come.

Up until now, public servants have not been able to reach anyone at the pay centre in Miramichi with callers waiting endlessly on hold, getting a busy signal or being hung up on.

Public Works says this new call centre will ensure that all employees are able to speak to someone with a minimal wait time, while reducing the burden at Miramichi and reducing the number of dropped calls.

In one day, the Toronto call centre received 2,500 calls with Public Works maintaining that no calls were dropped and the average wait time was under four minutes.

Public Works says that call centre agents there will be able to provide updates on when pay requests will be addressed and how long they will take to be resolved. Public servants with more complex pay questions will be referred to a pay advisor using a case status form.

A compensation advisor in the pay centre will then call back employees reporting issues in priority 1 and 2 groups within 48 hours.

Public Works shared this infographic, outlining the types of priority cases and their timelines:

Click to enlarge.

Public Works is also working on:

  • enhanced tools and additional training for both employees and managers in PWGSC and other departments;
    • the first set of tools will include job aids, tutorials and webcast events made broadly available across the public service in the coming weeks;
  • developing additional mandatory training with the Canada School of Public Service to help employees and managers;
  • a toolkit for managers with reference materials, such as checklists and tips, in an effort to help employees who are experiencing pay issues. The toolkit will be provided to managers through departmental human resources branches;
  • proceeding over the next few months with planned enhancements to Phoenix, which will increase automation, thereby reducing the number of manual steps required and speeding up the timelines; and
  • exploring options with Treasury Board and unions to support employees who have faced financial hardship because of inaccurate or missing pay. The Government will set up a claims process to reimburse employees for the out-of-pocket expenses incurred. This could include penalties for missed payments and insufficient fund charges. Employees are asked to keep track of the expenses incurred. Once the process is set up, instructions will be provided on how to submit claims for reimbursement.

Lastly, it was revealed that additional privacy breaches have occurred; four employees were able to access the names and identification numbers (PRIs) of employees from other departments.

The Deputy Minister said the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has been informed.

Video

Watch CBC’s video of last week’s technical briefing which include questions and answers here:

Other Links

Read the Deputy Minister’s full update here.

2016 Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign Launches September 7

2016 Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign Launches September 7

July 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

On Wednesday September 7, the 2016 Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) launches.

The kick off takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT) at Rideau Hall.

This year’s national Co-Chairs are William Pentney, Deputy Minister from the department of Justice and Marie Lemay, Deputy Minister from Public Services and Procurement Canada.

2015 Launch Highlights

To read highlights from last year’s launch at Rideau Hall, click here.

Video

Watch last year’s video with the Co-Chairs from then here:

Other Links

Key Dates

Download key dates for this year’s GCWCC here. (Updated June 27)

Training for Volunteers

To download training materials and tools for volunteers, click here.

Downloads

To download calendars, cut-outs, Powerpoint templates, certificates, thermometers, brochures, posters and more, click here. (National)

To download calendars, cut-outs, Powerpoint templates, certificates, thermometers, brochures, posters and more, click here. (NCR)

Deputy Minister for Phoenix Responds to Reports of Privacy Breaches

Deputy Minister for Phoenix Responds to Reports of Privacy Breaches

July 25, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Last Thursday, the Deputy Minister overseeing Phoenix provided another update to all public servants, this time responding to reports of privacy breaches with the new system.

In the update, the Deputy Minister confirmed the breaches with the first occuring between March and July 2015, and said that both cases were reported to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC).

The first breach consisted of, “Personal Record Identifiers (PRI), employee names and pay amounts that were inadvertently used by IBM to test the system during the development phase of Phoenix.”

The Deputy Minister said that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, “reviewed the case and determined that appropriate steps had been taken by Public Services and Procurement Canada to address the situation. This information was immediately deleted as soon as the issue was detected.”

The second breach involved, “several managers from four departments reported being able to access information of employees from other federal departments. Contrary to what has been reported in the media, this breach involved only the names and PRIs of employees. These access issues were addressed, and system fixes were put in place to prevent further problems. The OPC was also made aware of this situation.”

Read the Deputy Minister’s response in full below:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to address employee pay problems.

On Monday, I provided an update on the situation and announced additional actions to help employees who are having issues with their pay. I invite you to read my statement.

Recently, there have been media reports about privacy breaches related to Phoenix. I understand that employees may be concerned about this, and I want to assure you that we take the safeguarding of employee personal information very seriously. Any time we experience a privacy breach, we follow a systematic approach, in accordance with Treasury Board requirements, to assess and address causes and consequences.

We encountered two privacy breach situations during the testing and early implementation of Phoenix. The first situation occurred between March and July 2015, and the second between February and April 2016.

System adjustments and fixes were quickly implemented to prevent further breaches. Our Departmental Oversight Branch thoroughly reviewed these situations and determined that they posed low risk to employee privacy. There was no evidence that employee personal information ever left the hands of federal employees or government contractors. We also reported both of these instances to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) for review.

The first of these two situations involved Personal Record Identifiers (PRI), employee names and pay amounts that were inadvertently used by IBM to test the system during the development phase of Phoenix. The OPC reviewed the case and determined that appropriate steps had been taken by Public Services and Procurement Canada to address the situation. This information was immediately deleted as soon as the issue was detected. In addition, the employee information consisted of scrambled data that would have required technical expertise and significant time to make it readable. The OPC agreed with the Department that the risk to individuals was very low and that no further action by the Department was required.

The second situation occurred shortly after the Phoenix system was launched. Several managers from four departments reported being able to access information of employees from other federal departments. Contrary to what has been reported in the media, this breach involved only the names and PRIs of employees. These access issues were addressed, and system fixes were put in place to prevent further problems. The OPC was also made aware of this situation.

Please note that we are addressing all pay issues as quickly as possible. I look forward to providing you with an update on our progress next week.

Marie Lemay, P.Eng., ing.
Deputy Minister
Public Services and Procurement Canada

Other Links

Read the original update on Public Services and Procurement Canada’s website here.

Secretary of the Treasury Board Inspires With Public Service-Wide Discussion on Wellness

Secretary of the Treasury Board Inspires With Public Service-Wide Discussion on Wellness

July 20, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Last week was the much anticipated public service-wide LeadersGC discussion on wellness, which featured Yaprak Baltacioglu, Secretary of the Treasury Board, as the special guest Executive host.

Ms. Baltacioglu received a standing ovation at last month’s APEX Symposium, when she gave an inspiring talk to EXs about the stigma around mental health:

From a soccer field in Ottawa to all the way in Sydney, Australia, participants all across Canada and the world were ready to jump in to the discussion on wellness:

Highlights

Question 1) What leadership styles are conducive to workplace wellness?

Question 2) What role does a government-wide mental health plan play in public service renewal?

Question 3) Who is responsible for creating an environment supportive of workplace wellness?

Question 4) What actions can we take collectively, to stop the stigma around mental health?

Question 5) What activities do you do in your personal time to help manage stress?

Question 6) How can we best support colleagues who may be experiencing mental health or wellness challenges?

Question 7) How does emotional intelligence contribute to wellness in the workplace?

Question 8) How can improved workplace wellness influence service to Canadians?

Other Links

Read the official Storify from the LeadersGC discussion on wellness in the public service by clicking here.

Before next month’s event, all public servants can participate in the #LeadersGC discussion on Twitter and catch up on highlights from past series below:

  1. November 5, 2015 – “Embrace the Social Leader in You” with Andrew Treusch
  2. November 12, 2015 – “The Essence of Social Leadership” with Nancy Chahwan
  3. November 19, 2015 – “Building the Workforce of the Future” with Denise Amyot
  4. November 26, 2015 – “Engagement and Pride in the Public Service” with Clerk Janice Charette
  5. January 21, 2016 – “Raising Awareness Around Mental Health and Stopping the Stigma” with Debbie Beresford-Green
  6. February 18, 2016 – “Leadership and Innovation in the Public Service” with Graham Flack
  7. March 17, 2016 – “Official Languages in the Public Service” with Graham Fraser and Donna Achimov
  8. April 15, 2016 – “Coaching and Mentoring in the Public Service” with Dan Couture
  9. April 20, 2016 – “Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair: Recruitment in the Public Service” with Anne Marie Smart
  10. May 19, 2016 – “23rd Annual Report and Priorities for the Public Service” with Clerk Michael Wernick
  11. June 16, 2016 – “Celebrating Diversity in the Public Service” with Christine Donoghue
Update: Former Clerk Janice Charette Confirmed as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

Update: Former Clerk Janice Charette Confirmed as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

July 19, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

This morning, the Minister of Global Affairs confirmed several diplomatic appointments via news release.

This included confirmation that former Clerk Janice Charette becomes High Commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Janice Charette replaces former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell who was serving as High Commissioner since 2011.

Ms. Charette is no stranger to the UK as she visited public servants and public service leadership there in her role as Clerk, speaking about women leaders in the public service.

Public servants reacted with emotion and gratitude upon learning that she would be moving on from her role as Clerk back in January.

Her departure as Clerk came as a surprise to many, who expected her to depart at some point but not as early.

Many public servants have been wondering what Ms. Charette would do next but since leaving her role as Clerk, she has been active on social media, still engaged and championing awareness around mental health.

Ms. Charette made mental health in the workplace a priority for the public service in the Clerk’s annual report to the Prime Minister last year and continues to be a priority for the public service in Clerk Michael Wernick’s report on the public service for this year.

Video

Watch Janice Charette have a discussion about women leaders in the public service with UK public servants here:

Other Links

Read the official news release on the diplomatic appointment here.

Follow Janice Charette on Twitter here.

PWGSC Says 80,000 Employees Having Pay Related Issues; Apologizes

PWGSC Says 80,000 Employees Having Pay Related Issues; Apologizes

July 19, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

In yesterday’s technical briefing to the media, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC/PWGSC) confirmed that 80,000 employees have been experiencing pay related issues as a result of its new pay system, Phoenix.

Mixed Reaction

While the Deputy Minister did offer an apology, overall reaction was mixed.

Some were vocal in saying that they think the department is still not doing enough and they want the appropriate senior leaders responsible to be held accountable:

“to say the system is functioning and message all federal employees saying ‘we’re experiencing a few problems last week’.. Disgusting. Someone needs to take accountability for this.”

“Incompetent planning”

“Unbelievable and unacceptable”

There was also some positive feedback for Public Works’ consistent and proactive communications approach as of late to public servants on action being taken and progress made to resolve the issue:

“impressive and positive leadership on live Facebook stream on fixing Phoenix pay system”

Apology From the Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister began the briefing with personal comments before the update. She noted that she only joined the department three months ago but in that short time, this file and ensuring that public servants are paid has become her top priority:

“I am deeply concerned about the pay problems reported by public servants. Since joining the Department on April 11, I have personally spent an enormous amount of time working on this file. Ensuring that our staff are paid what they earn is my top priority. This situation is completely unacceptable, and we are all working around the clock to resolve these problems as quickly as possible.

The system, as a whole, is not functioning.

I’ll apologize to anyone who’s suffering hardship, financial or other, with no problem.”

The Numbers

As of Friday July 15:

  • 720 employees have contacted the pay centre to flag they are not receiving any pay;
  • 486 will receive a payment on July 27;
  • 1,100 employees have reported pay issues around leave or exiting the public service (i.e. maternity or parental payments, long-term disability, severance payments or requests for records of employment); and
  • 80,000 employees are missing supplementary pay, such as acting or extra duty pay, and salary increment adjustments.
What Went Wrong
  • Accumulation of a large backlog of unprocessed pay because of the learning curve for Phoenix users as they adjusted to new processes;
  • Underestimated the amount of time it would take for all users to become trained and familiar with the system; and
  • Close to 40,000 old and backdated employee cases were in the system and needed to be processed when Phoenix came online.
Priority Case System
  • Employees not receiving any pay is the top priority; this includes missing pay for new hires, including students, or pay that was not restarted for employees returning to work from leave without pay;
  • Second priority are cases related to employees going on leave or exiting the public service; these include maternity or parental payments, long-term disability, severance payments or requests for records of employment; and
  • Third priority is the backlog of employee cases where they are receiving regular pay, but are missing supplementary pay, such as acting or extra duty pay, and salary increment adjustments.
Actions Being Taken
  • Technical enhancements are being made to Phoenix so that each department can view all their transactions in the system;
  • An email notification system is being added so that managers are notified when they have a pending transaction to approve; This will help pay requests flow more quickly through Phoenix;
  • Phone line capacity at the pay centre in Miramichi will be increased to ensure that employees calling to report an issue with their pay can get through and speak to someone;
  • Supporting employees who have faced financial hardship because of this situation and exploring options to allow claims for the reimbursement of various expenses incurred because of inaccurate or missing pay. This could include penalties for missed loan payments, insufficient funds or late payments for student tuitions;
  • Employees in Gatineau and in Miramichi are working extra hours to resolve pay issues as quickly as possible;
  • Treasury Board has reached an agreement in principle with the Public Service Alliance of Canada to re-hire a number of pay advisors/compensation specialists to support the satellite pay office. The agreement in principle covers former employees who were laid off over the course of the past year and received a payment or an education allowance under the terms of the Work Force Adjustment Directive. With this agreement, PWGSC will reach out to departments to obtain their list of former pay advisors and compensation specialists‎, and communicate with former employees to gauge their interest in coming back; and
  • the Minister of PWGSC has asked the Auditor General of Canada to review the implementation of the Phoenix system.
Reaching Out to Retired Public Servants

Yesterday, the National Association of Federal Retirees sent out a message to its members, looking for retired compensation advisors interested in being rehired for several months to help with the backlog.

Retired public servants who may be interested can follow-up here.

Other Links

To read the transcript from the technical briefing, click here.

Video

Watch PWGSC’s Facebook Live of just the technical briefing here:

Watch CBC’s video of the technical briefing which include questions and answers here:

Public Servant Ignites ‘Little Voice Movement’

Public Servant Ignites ‘Little Voice Movement’

July 18, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

One public servant is leading the charge behind a movement to inspire ideas and empower communities.

The initiative is called the ‘Little Voice Movement’ and it’s based on the children’s book ‘Little Voice’ by Amanda Bernardo from Parks Canada, which she wrote and self published last year:

2016lvsm

The book aims to help children be confident, creative, ambitious and proud of who they are by listening to their inner voice and drawing from their inner strength.

The newly launched Little Voice Movement is about, “inspiring children, adults, teachers, parents and entire communities to listen to their little voice. There is no age limit, no time limit, simply a commitment to inspire others.”

How to Join the Movement

To join the Movement, one just has to register to become a Little Voice Ambassador. By registering, Ambassadors can then create their own inspirational movement in their community.

Whether they choose to support a school, an important cause, or someone’s future, Little Voice donates $5 dollars from every book sale that Ambassadors have made to support their movement.

So far, the book has raised close to $7,000 for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Little Voice continues to donate a portion of every book sale to the Alzheimer Society of Canada while supporting the many more movements of Little Voice Ambassadors across Canada.

The Story Behind Little Voice

The idea for Little Voice originated after Bernardo graduated university and was faced with career uncertainty.

That prompted Bernardo to express herself through poetry about lack of confidence and life uncertainty.

It wasn’t until she began volunteering with the Ottawa Network for Education and reading to children that she realized that they were also struggling with the same issues, as can anyone of any age.

She then went back to one of the poems she had written and decided to turn it into a children’s book.

And thus, Little Voice was born.

Other Links

Learn more about the Little Voice Movement here.

Register to become a Little Voice Ambassador by clicking here.

Video

Watch Amanda Bernardo speak about creativity and innovation in a Future Leaders of Ontario minute mentoring segment here:

Watch the television announcement for the Little Voice Movement here: