Some employees still waiting months for paycheques

About 18,000 backlogged cases have yet to be processed

November 17, 2016
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

Canada parliament

OTTAWA—As the federal government whittles away a backlog of payroll problems caused by its new pay system, officials say new payroll entries are taking an “unacceptable” amount of time to process.

The deputy minister in charge of dealing with the Phoenix pay system debacle says about 18,000 backlogged cases have yet to be processed, down from roughly 22,000 files that were still on the books two weeks prior.

But Marie Lemay says a secondary backlog of sorts was created over the summer months as payroll processing times slowed to about 40,000 files per pay period.

The deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada says the goal is to ensure that federal workers are paid what they are owed within 20 days of submitting their regular pay claims.

But while pay processing times have vastly improved, Lemay says that target is being achieved only about 20 per cent of the time as a result of the earlier slowdown.

The remaining 80 per cent of employees are being forced to wait for payments for up to two months or even longer.

“We have the equivalent of more than two months of transactions that are in a queue,” Lemay said. “Some could be 40 days. Some could be 60 days (depending on the transaction).”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents the majority of federal government workers, has complained the Liberals have not provided employees with enough information about how they intend to fix the troubled pay system.

Lemay said progress is being made toward reaching what she terms a “steady state” for the system.

Her department was still aiming to clear most of the backlogged claims by year’s end, after having breached an earlier self-imposed Oct. 31 deadline.

More than 82,000 federal employees had reported pay problems throughout the late spring and summer after the government’s new payroll system was brought online.

Most were underpaid, some were paid too much and others weren’t paid at all—for months at a time, in a number of cases.

So far, fewer than 180 civil servants have submitted claims for out-of-pocket expenses caused by the pay problems, such as credit card or credit line interest charges, officials said Wednesday.

Most claims have totalled less than $500 each, said the Treasury Board’s claims office.

Another 1,800 government employees had requested emergency pay since June, said Lemay.