Tag: #psac

Minister Issues Written Apology to All Affected by Phoenix

Minister Issues Written Apology to All Affected by Phoenix

August 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has issued a written apology to all Government of Canada employees affected by the public service’s new pay system, Phoenix.

It comes almost two and a half years since the Associate Deputy of PSPC and pay modernization at the time, Renée Jolicoeur, received the Outstanding Achievement Award for various career accomplishments which is considered, “the highest expression of recognition for senior public servants in the Public Service of Canada.”

One of Jolicoeur’s career accomplishments listed was, “transforming the Government’s outdated pension administration into a seamless and centralized electronic system, and modernizing the compensation function by creating a fully automated and consolidated compensation service centre.

She launched the pay modernization and consolidation initiative to modernize a 40-year-old IT system and to create a compensation service centre through the consolidation of all pay advisory services and functions for government departments. She has been instrumental in working across government and with bargaining agents to mobilize compensation advisors in support of this important initiative, as well as with the Government of New Brunswick and post-secondary institutions to develop a training and recruitment initiative to create a pool of skilled compensation service providers.”

The Prime Minister at the time was quoted as saying, “Ms. Jolicoeur is a world-class innovator who has transformed outdated government pension and pay systems into cutting edge operations that have saved taxpayers money, provided better services to Canadians, and which are envied around the world.”

Fast forward to last week when the Minister of PSPC said that the cost to fix Phoenix has so far totalled $25 million and counting.

And this week, unions have continued to be vocal in their claims that they weren’t heard when they issued warnings about Phoenix:

Read the Minister’s written apology to public servants below:

No one should have to worry about being paid for work performed. The pay problems experienced by some of our employees are unacceptable. To the public servants and families impacted by the issues with the public service pay system, I am sorry. Please accept my apologies.

Fixing this situation is a top priority for me.

We have added more staff to the Pay Centre in Miramichi and created four satellite pay units to fix pay problems faster. We will continue to hire as many additional pay advisors as we can. I have seen firsthand how hard employees in these centres are working to fix problems with speed and accuracy. I thank them for their service.

Priority is being given to those individuals most at risk. In the meantime, employees can request and receive emergency payments from their department, which can be issued within 24-48 hours.

We are working with our colleagues at Treasury Board Secretariat to ensure affected employees who have incurred costs resulting from the implementation of the new pay system will be able to submit a claim to be reimbursed for these expenses.

We have also made it easier for employees to get information. An enhanced call centre is in place and Public Services and Procurement Canada is providing regular updates on its website and via public technical briefings.

Unions are providing important assistance by identifying employee pay problems and supporting solutions, such as the hiring of compensation advisors. Last week I met with union representatives as part of this partnership. All parties expressed a shared concern for employees and we committed to keep working together to support them and remain responsive to their needs.

While there is still a significant number of affected employees, we are making progress. Outstanding issues are being resolved, and this work is happening as quickly as possible. Anyone who has a pay problem can get help by calling Public Services and Procurement Canada at 1-855-686-4729 or by completing the department’s online feedback form. That form may also be used to request an emergency salary payment.

We are committed to addressing issues caused by the pay transformation initiative. The determination and dedication of employees throughout the Government to help resolve this unacceptable pay situation, will ensure we get through this challenging period together.

Judy M. Foote
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Other Links

Read the Minister’s written apology on the Public Services and Procurement Canada’s website here.

Unions File Notice of Application With Federal Court of Canada Over Phoenix

Unions File Notice of Application With Federal Court of Canada Over Phoenix

June 29, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Desperate public servants have been going public and sharing their personal horror stories of having to survive months without pay due to the problems the public service has been experiencing with its new pay system, Phoenix:

In one emotional interview, another public servant broke down on air saying pay centre employees terminated her file instead of transferring it when she changed departments and since then, her file has just been sitting on a supervisor’s desk with no activity.

“We try to survive. That’s the most we can do,” she said, crying.

Public Works has taken action by setting up a temporary satellite pay centre in the National Capital Region.

However, unions have said enough.

Thirteen public sector unions filed a Notice of Application with the Federal Court yesterday, seeking a court order directing the government to implement a pay administration system that meets its obligations under the Federal Administration Act and the Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment.

Those thirteen unions are:

  • Association of Justice Counsel;
  • Canadian Association of Professional Employees;
  • Canadian Federal Pilots Association;
  • Canadian Merchant Service Guild;
  • Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association;
  • Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association;
  • Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (West);
  • Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (East);
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
  • Profession Association of Foreign Service Officers;
  • Public Service Alliance of Canada;
  • Research Council Employees’ Association; and
  • Unifor.

In its statement, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said:

The federal government is responsible for paying public service workers on time for the work they do. The unions are demanding that the federal government meet its legal duty to provide timely and accurate pay for public service employees.

The new Phoenix pay system is not working and hurting many public service workers. It is also putting excessive stress on the employees who process pay under the new system. Since its implementation, Phoenix has exhibited ongoing and significant systemic problems in the administration of pay for public service employees.

The application states Phoenix has resulted in the following pay system problems:

  • Outright failure to pay employees;
  • Delayed and inaccurate payments;
  • Failure to pay overtime and extra duty pay; and
  • Failure to process information necessary for disability insurance, employment insurance and pension payments.

The unions argue that these ongoing circumstances raise concerns that affect all public service employees, constitute a breach of the employer’s duty to provide timely and accurate pay for public service employees.

PSAC is calling on public servants to send letters to the Minister of Public Works to send a message that Phoenix needs to be fixed immediately.

According to PSAC, more than 2000 letters have been sent documenting serious issues so far.

Other Links

To participate in PSAC’s letter campaign, click here.

Read PSAC’s official statement here.

Second Joint Task Force Report Released on Workplace Mental Health

Second Joint Task Force Report Released on Workplace Mental Health

June 1, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The second Treasury Board/PSAC joint task force report on mental health in the public service workplace has been released.

Gaps Found

While the first report released back in December recommended that the public service adopt the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and its progressive implementation, the task force in its second report found that:

  • Many departments and agencies have said that they are ill-equipped to align with the National Standard;
  • There is a lack of accountability and oversight to ensure that organization-specific committees are in place and that they are able to fulfill their mandate; and
  • Current legislative requirements and public service-wide committee structures are not well known or fully utilized.
Recommendations

The second report recommends that deputy heads should be made accountable for establishing, staffing and overseeing organizational occupational health and safety committees.

As well, deputy heads should be made accountable for ensuring that the committees are trained and equipped to fulfill their mandate.

They recommend that minimum training include: committee orientation training, hazard analysis, workplace inspections, and hazardous occurrence investigation and reporting.

Repeated Calls for a Single, Public Service-Wide Centre of Expertise

The joint task force repeated its call for the creation of a single, public service-wide centre of expertise, that would be an efficient and cost-effective means to help guide organizational alignment with the National Standard.

The report determined that the centre of expertise should be a stand-alone entity under the umbrella of the National Joint Council.

Department/Agency-Specific Findings

The report identified a lack or absence of the following:

  • An understanding of roles and responsibilities;
  • Joint selection of champions;
  • A joint employee engagement strategy;
  • Training of organizational OHS committees;
  • Organizational assessments; and
  • A joint communications and promotion strategy.

The task force recommended that departments and agencies should focus on the following to support alignment with the National Standard:

  • Establish a joint governance structure to support the psychological health and safety management system within the organization, including the selection of psychological health and safety champions;
  • Ensure adequate resources (staff and funds) and infrastructure;
  • Ensure that OHS committees are equipped with training to fulfill their duties;
  • Identify psychological health and safety factors through workplace assessments to inform continuous improvement; and
  • Jointly develop and implement strategies for employee engagement, communication and promotion.

Other Links

Read the full report by clicking here.

Statistics Canada Reaches Employment Equity Settlement With Union

Statistics Canada Reaches Employment Equity Settlement With Union

May 18, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Interviewers and Senior Interviewers who worked at Statistics Canada between March 8, 1985 and November 5, 1987 and for Statistical Survey Operations (SSO) between November 6, 1987 and November 30, 2013 will be receiving outstanding pay equity money, totalling upwards of $45 million.

The settlement will apply to about 25,000 eligible current and former employees, and each payment will be between $1,500 and $2,000.

The President of the Treasury Board said, “The government has made a commitment towards gender equality, and while there is still a lot of work to do, we are making concrete progress towards achieving pay equity.

As Canada’s largest employer, the federal government should lead by example.”

In 2002, the union Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission on behalf of members employed with seven separate employers, including SSO.

After over a decade of legal wrangling, the SSO case was referred to the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board for a hearing in 2014 which eventually led to further discussions between PSAC and SSO, finally resulting in this settlement.

Payments are tentatively scheduled to be made to eligible employees in early 2017.

Other Links

Read the original news release here.

With files from here.

Union Concerned Over Implementation of New PS-Wide Pay System ‘Phoenix’

Union Concerned Over Implementation of New PS-Wide Pay System ‘Phoenix’

April 7, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

On Tuesday, one of the largest unions for the federal public service issued a statement over its concern about how ‘Phoenix,’ the new public service-wide pay system is being implemented.

February marked the first wave of implementation with over thirty departments and agencies adopting the new system. This month is the second wave with over sixty departments and agencies making the switch.

Amidst reports of frustrated public servants with delayed acting and overtime pay by months, as well as low morale at the pay centre in Miramichi, the Public Service Alliance of Canada titled its statement, “Public Works needs to slow down implementation of Phoenix pay system.”

Public Works needs to slow down implementation of Phoenix pay system

For some time now, and since the new pay system Phoenix was launched at the Public Works Pay Centre, we have been hearing from our members of numerous problems and concerns.

PSAC in discussions with employer

We are taking these concerns seriously and following up with the employer to see if they can slow down the implementation of the new system until errors can be corrected to avoid future problems.

The PSAC has already communicated with management that they either need to add more staff at the pay centre or slow down the pace files are being transferred.

Our members at Miramichi

Our members working in Miramichi are dedicated, concerned by the problems and working hard but are under a tremendous amount of pressure.

Information

We will keep you appraised of the situation as soon as we hear updates. If you have any concerns about the system, please contact your component.

‘Phoenix’ replaces the previous 40 year-old pay system with many modern features including the elimination of timesheets, as well as public servants now being able to manually change their banking information themselves in the system without delays to pay.

Video

Training

Public servants can take the free online self-paced training offered by the Canada School of Public Service:

  1. Phoenix for Authorizers under Section 33 of the Financial Administration Act (C600)
  2. Phoenix Manager Self Service (C602)
  3. Phoenix Navigation Overview (C603)
  4. Phoenix Overview for Compensation Advisors (C604)
  5. Phoenix Self Service for Employees (C601)

Other Links

For links to webcasts on Phoenix, as well as fact sheets and FAQs, click here.

Read PSAC’s statement on their website here.

Government Introduces Legislation to Repeal Bill C-59; Unions Not Impressed With Latest Sick Leave Proposal

Government Introduces Legislation to Repeal Bill C-59; Unions Not Impressed With Latest Sick Leave Proposal

February 8, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

On Friday, Treasury Board issued a news release stating that the government introduced legislation to repeal bill C-59:

Today, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to repeal Division 20 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No.1 (also referred to as Bill C-59) that provided the Government with the authority to unilaterally override the collective bargaining process and impose a new sick leave system on the public service.

The Government of Canada is committed to bargaining in good faith with all federal public service unions. Repealing these provisions of Bill C-59 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working towards fair and reasonable agreements in full respect of the collective bargaining process.

Meanwhile one of the largest public sector unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), also issued its own news release Friday for one of its groups, declaring its displeasure with the new government’s sick leave proposal, stating that it mirrored that of the previous government.

PSAC’s news release titled, “More of the Same From Employer” said:

“Canadians elected a new government that promised respect and improved relationships with public service workers. We have yet to see evidence of this at the EB table.

Treasury Board negotiators tabled a proposal similar to that of the previous government, that would replace our existing sick leave. It takes away existing rights and leaves members worse off. The proposed short term disability plan would fall outside of the collective agreement and allow the government to make unilateral changes any time.

We remain open to improvements on sick leave but we will not negotiate concessions or agree to any proposal that forces members to choose between losing pay or going to work sick.

We are pleased to see the government move to repeal Bill C59 (division 20), but there is still another unfair labour law on the books: the unconstitutional changes to labour laws governing the collective bargaining process under C4 remain a key issue.”

The President of PSAC was quoted as saying, “I have to say that our teams were disappointed, I’ll be really honest with you. The [elected government] had (made) huge promises over their campaign about bringing forward a new mandate but there was very little indication that there was going to be a change. In fact, what they tabled was similar to that of the [previous] government. There were some improvements but certainly we were looking to improvements to the sick leave and not a continuation of the short term disability program.”

Recently, the President of the Treasury Board told public servants that a new golden era of the the public service was on the horizon and on Friday said, “The Government has made a commitment to restore a culture of respect for and within the public service. We will bargain in good faith with the unions and look for opportunities to modernize the disability and sick leave management system. We will work with them to reach agreements that are fair and reasonable for employees and Canadians.”

Other Links

Read Treasury Board’s news release here.

Read PSAC’s news release here.

With files from here.

Treasury Board President Confirms Bill C-59 Sick Leave Measures to be Repealed

Treasury Board President Confirms Bill C-59 Sick Leave Measures to be Repealed

January 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Public servants who may have been worried about the sick leave measures in bill C-59 can breathe a little bit easier now, knowing that the President of the Treasury Board has confirmed these measures will be repealed.

Treasury Board told “unions in a letter that sections of bill C-59 pertaining to sick leave will be repealed as one of the ‘first orders of business'” now that Parliament resumed yesterday, after a six week break.

Bill C-59 introduced last June under the previous government, would have given the government “the ability to unilaterally create a new short-term and long-term disability program if negotiations failed to produce such a plan.” Treasury Board would have had the power to no longer let unions be able to respond to any of the government’s offers or discussions after close to 200 meetings and negotiations. The President of PSAC said this went against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The promise from the Treasury Board President comes a week before bargaining talks between one of the largest public service unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and the government resume with a four day session, beginning on February 1.

With files from here.

Treasury Board Confirms Bargaining Resumes This Week With New Government

Treasury Board Confirms Bargaining Resumes This Week With New Government

January 6, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Treasury Board confirmed yesterday that bargaining between the government and federal public service unions will resume this week, beginning with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The larger unions are scheduled to resume negotiations at the end of the month/early February. This includes the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which will have its first four day session on February 1.

It was also confirmed earlier this week that rates for union dues with PSAC went up on January 1.

Unions have admitted they are cautiously optimistic, since the new government campaigned on a new tone and message of restoring relations with the public service. Recently, the new President of the Treasury Board told public servants that a “new golden age of public service is on the horizon.”

Unions are expecting the new President of the Treasury Board to disregard the proposal from the previous government and reboot the negotiations which covers public servants’ sick leave and pay.

With files from here and here.

PSAC Union Dues Went Up January 1

PSAC Union Dues Went Up January 1

January 4, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Public servants covered by a contract with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), saw the union dues that they pay increase from 0.9668% to 0.9740%, starting on January 1st.

As well, the following two additional changes are to be made by component:

Agriculture Union:
The component portion will increase from 0.7023% to 0.7087%.

Union of Environment Workers:
The component portion will increase from 0.5610% to 0.5709%.

These adjustments will be made automatically.

Other Links

Visit our main Collective Agreements page here.

With files from here.

Highlights From the TB/PSAC Joint Task Force Report on Workplace Mental Health

Highlights From the TB/PSAC Joint Task Force Report on Workplace Mental Health

December 3, 2015 | By | Add a Comment

The joint Treasury Board/Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) task force report on workplace mental health was released yesterday:

The report makes a total of eleven recommendations with each one having a special area of focus. The recommendations are framed at the outset of the report with a number of facts:

  • the results of the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey, which show a trend of employee engagement decreasing over time;
  • the percentage of public servants who have reported to be victims of harassment;
  • the worrying numbers from the 2012 Survey on the Health of Executives, cited in the 2014 APEX Report on Blueprint 2020; and
  • statistics from the Employee Assistance Program and long-term disability claims for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The technical committee of the joint task force then outlines its vision:

To create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace.

The report goes on to say:

The Standard reminds us that the workplace is made up of people. In order to improve the psychological health and safety of the workplace, we must humanize the workplace. This requires a shift from a primarily output-focused environment to one that is more people-focused. A more people-focused environment contributes to a high quality Federal Public Service; compassion is fundamental to this shift.

The eleven recommendations and their focuses are:

1. That the Federal Public Service adopt the following vision: To create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This obligation belongs to every individual in the workplace.

FOCUS: Leadership, “Leaders at all levels, including employer and bargaining agent representatives, play a critical role in setting the tone in terms of raising awareness of psychological health and safety and advocating workplace well-being.

Leaders need to set the example and ‘walk the talk’ in terms of actions and behaviours and take steps to demonstrate sustained leadership commitment.

Leaders, formal and otherwise, model, promote and support positive practices and behaviours that lead to psychologically healthy and safe environments. Leaders do not have to come from management levels; but must be individuals who can speak genuinely and with sincerity and are the right fit to advance psychological health and safety.”

2. Appoint a Psychological Health and Safety Champion(s) at a senior level through an inclusive selection process, which includes consultation with bargaining agents/employees.

FOCUS: Engagement, “Senior management is expected to actively engage employees by promoting formal and informal approaches to facilitate collective and individual contributions towards continuous and positive cultural change.

Creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace requires commitment and engagement beyond senior leadership. Psychological health and safety is the responsibility of all individuals in the workplace with leaders, from all levels, playing a critical role. Engagement is active participation by all.”

3. Develop, implement, and support a comprehensive engagement strategy through consultation, using existing and additional structures.

4. Ensure appropriate resources are available to develop, implement, and support a comprehensive engagement strategy.

FOCUS: Continuous Education, Training, & Workplace Practices, “Education and training should help individuals to better understand and recognize how psychological health risks and hazards may present themselves in their respective workplaces.

Training should be more than just ticking a box to indicate a course has been completed.

A centre of expertise would be an efficient and cost effective means to assist departments and agencies in the delivery of the above. This centre could vet and house pertinent information and resources, and provide advice to departments on best practices, including but not limited to continuous education, training and workplace practices.”

5. Create a single Centre of Expertise for psychological health and safety in the Federal Public Service to advise, assist, and support departments and agencies in their adoption of the Vision.

6. Educate, train and equip individuals, managers, and Occupational Health and Safety Committees/representatives, enabling them to adopt the Vision.

7. Use existing education and training tools and, as needed, develop additional resources, based on identified gaps, to support Recommendation # 6.

FOCUS: Communication & Promotion, “Success in implementing the Vision requires effective communication to encourage and promote openness and help overcome barriers. Good communication can help rebuild trust, overcome fear of reprisal, and create awareness of workplace mental health challenges.

Communication is key for building the foundation for an action plan.”

8. Develop and implement a joint employer/employee communication strategy that includes, but is not limited to promoting active engagement and ongoing commitment across the Federal Public Service, engaging every individual in the workforce and enshrining psychological health and safety in all occupational health and safety communiques, programs and activities.

FOCUS: Measurement & Accountability, “Building a measurement and reporting system is essential to the success of the Vision and plays an important role in ensuring accountability and correcting unacceptable behaviours and attitudes of intolerance, helping to cultivate positive cultural change.

Measurement requires establishing benchmark baseline data and indicators that assess the organization against criteria, such as the 13 factors in the Standard, that impact the psychological health and safety of the workplace. Internal and external environmental scans, including Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) analyses, specialized surveys and consultations with employees can be used to identify risks and gaps, inform departmental action plans and provide meaningful information to monitor specific areas.

In addition to measurement is a need to ensure accountability. Management accountability currently exists in the Federal Public Service through the Management Accountability Framework (MAF), individual performance agreements, and existing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committees. These mechanisms could be used to ensure departments and agencies define achievable short-term goals, as well as ongoing objectives.

Ongoing review and improvement are essential to the successful implementation of mental health initiatives.”

9. Departments should conduct an assessment of risks and potential threats to workplace psychological health and safety to inform a continual review process, including assessment, identification, remediation, and further review.

10. Incorporate psychological health and safety into the Management Accountability Framework with annual psychological health and safety reports provided to the Clerk of the Privy Council.

11. Amend the competencies included in Performance Management Agreements in a manner consistent with the Vision in order to hold individuals to account.

The committee concludes the report by stating that its vision can be achieved through the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and recommends its progressive implementation.

As well, that the report represents a first step towards the adoption of a comprehensive psychological health, safety and well-being strategy for the federal public service.

Other Links

To read the full report, click here.