I call the meeting to order. It's 2 p.m., and I believe we have everyone from the committee here.
Mr. McCauley, excuse me, if I could just make some opening remarks first, I'll get back to you, if that's all right, and then to Madam Ratansi.
First, welcome to everyone. I'm glad to see you back here. It's good to see you.
I was hoping we wouldn't see each other until September, but obviously this is a very important day for us. I want to remind all members that this is a special meeting, requested through Standing Order 106(4), and that it is also televised.
I would like to spend a couple of moments going over some procedural aspects of the meeting and how it will be conducted, and then we'll get into the meeting itself. Unlike our regular committee meetings, which are structured for two hours and only two hours, this special meeting has no predetermined adjournment time. Therefore, we will be sitting for as long as members around this table have questions or comments to make. We will adjourn only when all members have exhausted all of their questions, comments, or observations.
Our first order of business is that we need to agree as a committee that we wish to examine the Phoenix pay system. That was included in the letter of request under Standing Order 106(4). We have to agree at this table that we want to go forward and examine the Phoenix pay system. Then, and only then, will this meeting continue.
We all know that Mr. Weir, for example, has a motion on notice that discusses potential witnesses. I suspect, although I do not know, that there will be other motions from the floor. You can make a motion from the floor—that is admissible—if there are motions pertaining to witnesses to come forward.
We have a number of officials in the gallery today. For the benefit of committee members, and perhaps for the members of the media who are in attendance, I want to let you know who will be in the gallery and will be available, if requested, to come forward to speak to this committee.
We have Donna Lackie, the national president of the Government Services Union; Marie Lemay, deputy minister, Public Services and Procurement; Rosanna Di Paola, associate assistant deputy minister of accounting, banking, and compensation; Gavin Liddy, associate deputy minister; and also Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. These officials are in the audience. If any of them are requested to come forward, they will be available if the committee so agrees.
Ladies and gentlemen, if a motion is presented, debate will begin on that motion. The normal rules of procedure will take place, that is to say that there is no time limit for debates, and speakers can speak more than once.
However, as chair, I would encourage you to please make your comments as succinct as possible. The longer we are debating motions, the longer it will take to potentially have witnesses before us. In the cases of motions that are requesting certain witnesses to appear, I think the witnesses will probably be fairly self-apparent as to why they are being asked to appear. I don't believe we need to spend an awful lot of time on debate, but that is strictly up to the members around this committee.
Also, I would strongly encourage members to try to avoid the blame game if possible, and I say this with all sincerity. We're all partisan animals around here. We can all go out and do our partisan hits with the media, but the reality is that this is a very serious problem. The aggrieved parties are the employees of the federal government. I think it serves no useful purpose for members of this committee to start blaming one another as to who did what and when did they do it.
I hope that we are of one mind. The purpose of this meeting is to certainly determine what went wrong, but more importantly the remedies to fix the problems. If we can focus on that, then hopefully we can all be part of the solution.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, on a separate matter, after we conclude the special meeting, I would ask concurrence of the members around this table for an in camera five-minute meeting so our clerk can update us on future committee business.
That concludes my opening remarks.
Mr. McCauley, and Mr. Weir, you're on the list of speakers. I had recognized you first.
Good afternoon. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this committee to discuss the Government of Canada's new pay system, Phoenix, and our plan to address some of the issues that we're facing.
I can certainly appreciate your interest in understanding the challenges that we're facing.
Accompanying me today are associate deputy minister Gavin Liddy; and Ms. Rosanna Di Paola, the associate assistant deputy minister for accounting, banking, and compensation.
I'll begin with a little background on the Phoenix system and we'll then provide you with an overview of the challenges we faced, and where we are today, before discussing our plan to resolve these issues, if that's okay with you.
Before going further, I want to emphasize that it is unacceptable for any Government of Canada employee to go unpaid or to be incorrectly paid for the work performed. Employees are coming to work every day, they're putting in the hours required of them and sometimes more, delivering the services that Canadians require, and they're keeping our country safe and secure. In exchange, they're owed timely compensation to pay their mortgages, to feed their families, and we definitely understand that.
Now I'd like to provide a bit of context for the serious need underlying the Government of Canada's decision to adopt a new pay system and the challenges associated with such a complex undertaking.
Public Services and Procurement Canada is responsible for administering the pay of more than 290,000 federal employees, in other words, everyone working in the more than 100 departments, agencies and organizations that make up the federal public service, in addition to MPs, senators, and their staff.
Administering pay for the Government of Canada is complex, given that some 27 collective agreements setting out more than 80,000 pay rules had to be programmed into the system. A number of years ago, it became very clear that the federal government's pay system had become inefficient and was at risk of failing.
The regional pay system, as it was called, was more than 40 years old. Over 1,000 workarounds and temporary patches had been deployed over the years. It had become increasingly difficult to maintain, and it relied on outdated technology that put the sustainability of the administration of pay at risk.
At the same time, the pool of specialized employees with knowledge of the outdated technology was fast disappearing. A major outage would have put pay service operations at risk for weeks, even months. In fact, a major system failure in 2003 affected the pay of 4,000 public servants.
The Government of Canada initiated plans for transforming the administration of pay services through two related projects. The first project was to replace the outdated pay system through the purchase of a new off-the-shelf commercial system that would be integrated with government human resources applications. As part of the procurement process, the government acquired the PeopleSoft-based system, a reputable and well known payroll software. Working with the vendor, IBM, the department configured it and called it Phoenix.
The other project was to consolidate front line pay services administration from across government to a new public service pay centre in Miramichi, New Brunswick. The Miramichi pay centre was staffed with 550 employees, who were hired in three waves, the last of which was completed in December 2014.
A report by the government operations committee in 2008 recommended support for pay modernization and for potentially redistributing activities to the regions. The goal was, and remains, to attain a modern, responsive, and flexible pay system that is also cost-effective and sustainable.
Deployment of the Phoenix pay system required six years of preparation by our and other departments, as well as IBM, the supplier responsible for Phoenix's design and implementation. More than 16,000 different pay scenarios were tested to make sure the software ran smoothly.
At IBM's recommendation, the original deployment schedule was delayed to allow for further testing and ensure due diligence. The scheduled October 2015 rollout was pushed back to February 2016, and the December 2015 rollout was postponed to April 2016.
In December, positive test results and a third-party review confirmed the decision to go ahead with system implementation. In addition, in January, consultations with deputy ministers from all the departments involved resulted in support for system deployment. Therefore, on February 24 of this year, Phoenix was rolled out for 120,000 employees across 34 departments. On March 9, the first batch of Phoenix-issued paycheques were generated. On April 21, another 67 departments were integrated as part of the second rollout, representing a total of nearly 170,000 public servants.
When Phoenix went live in February, the pay centre had a backlog of 20,000 employee cases that should have been cleared prior to implementation but weren't completed on time. This was exacerbated by backlogs in departments. For example, after going live with Phoenix we received 20,000 employee extra-duty pay requests. As well, there was a steep learning curve associated with the new system within departments and the pay centre. Therefore, despite the significant planning and preparation, we have faced critical problems affecting a considerable number of employees who have experienced a pay issue of one kind or another.
I'll give you a sense of the different categories that we're addressing in priority sequence, the numbers associated with each, and our plan to address the situation.
Our top priority is employees who are not being paid. As I already mentioned, that is completely unacceptable. Those affected are mainly new hires, students, and employees who are returning to work after being on unpaid leave and whose pay has not been restored.
At our technical briefing last week, I indicated that 720 employees had reported not receiving any pay. We committed to making sure 486 of them received a payment on the next payday, so July 27. I can tell you that all of those employees received their pay yesterday. We expect 139 of the remaining employees to be paid on August 10, since we now have the information we need to proceed. We are still waiting for information on 35 employees, and after a thorough check, we determined that 60 individuals did not appear in our system.
Since last week, another 589 employees have reported problems tied to missing pay. We are addressing 210 of those cases, with the objective of paying them on August 10. Like last week, we are working with departments to resolve cases where we are lacking employee information.
The second priority is employees whose pay may be affected by their going on leave or exiting the public service. Last week I reported that about 1,100 employees had brought these issues to our attention. Since July 18, we've addressed 74 cases, and we're processing the remainder as quickly as possible. Employees reporting these types of issues can expect to have their case addressed within six weeks.
The third priority is those who are receiving regular pay, but missing supplementary pay, such as acting or extra duty pay and salary increment adjustments. This group consists of about 80,000 employees. Without diminishing the importance of this, these are employees who are receiving their regular paycheque, but are missing amounts. Since July 18, approximately 1,100 employee cases out of the 80,000 backlog have been resolved, and those employees will see the adjustments on their August 10 paycheques if they haven't already seen them.
We are not finished, but we are making progress. We are also taking steps to make sure all cases are processed.
First, we have hired more people and are creating temporary pay offices all over the country.
We increased the number of staff at the pay centre in Miramichi, adding 40 employees at the beginning of the year. We are currently taking steps to manage the workload of employees at the centre, who have been dealing with excessive workloads in recent months.
Yesterday, and I had the opportunity to meet with employees at the Miramichi pay centre. We thanked them for their hard work and repeated the message that they were not to blame for this situation.
We created a temporary pay unit in Gatineau with 57 employees so far. We expect that number to rise to 115 in the coming weeks. I want to say how grateful we are for the support of our union partners, who are helping us find ways to encourage employees and rehire former compensation advisers on a temporary basis.
We are also creating temporary regional hubs in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Shawinigan. The Winnipeg office, which has 20 compensation advisers, will start processing cases in mid-August, and we expect the number of staff to rise to 50. The hubs in Montreal and Shawinigan should be up and running in the coming weeks, with 20 compensation advisers at each location.
In addition, we have set up a national call centre in Toronto. This is not a compensation centre but, rather, a call centre. Yesterday, the centre received 2,500 calls. None were dropped, and the average wait time was under four minutes. Callers with missing pay issues are referred to the pay centre using an electronic form that the call centre agent fills out.
Secondly, we are ensuring that there's flexibility in the system to address the very real financial needs of every affected employee. We've encouraged managers to take advantage of the existing processes through which they can issue emergency payments to employees. The Treasury Board Secretariat is exploring options to reimburse employees for the out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred as a result of inaccurate or missing pay.
We have encouraged employees to report their pay problems as quickly as possible through our website and to speak to their manager if they have a pay problem, to discuss the next steps and the resources available to them.
Thirdly, additional resources are being developed to ensure all Phoenix users fully understand the roles they play to keep pay requests moving quickly and accurately.
This issue is at the heart of the problems we’ve faced. While we provided training to employees and met with every department on a weekly basis prior to implementation, it’s clear that we under-estimated the amount of time it would take for all users to be become trained and familiar with the system. This has created extra stress for the employees at the Public Service Pay Centre.
Enhanced tools and additional training are being developed and will be offered to both employees and managers in our department and other departments.
The first set of tools will include job aids, tutorials and webcasted events and will be made broadly available across the public service in the coming weeks.
In addition, our department and the Canada School of Public Service are working together to develop additional mandatory training to help employees and managers. We will also be developing a tool kit for managers with reference materials such as checklists and tips for helping employees who are having pay issues.
We've already completed enhancements that are speeding up transactions. For example, the pay system now recognizes automatically adjust level for acting to ensure compensation is paid at a correct rate.
Fourth and most importantly, we're working on the system itself. We continue to make adjustments and move forward with plans offering enhancements that are increasing automation and shortening timelines. We've started sending managers emails notifying them that they need to approve a transaction in the system. We expect this will have a substantial impact.
While I can tell you that these actions are proving effective, they do not for one minute negate the fact that every employee deserves to be paid for the hours they put in. Anything else is unacceptable.
Last week I reported that two privacy breaches related to the Phoenix pay system have been fixed. On July 26, I was made aware of a further privacy breach allowing four employees to access names and identification numbers of employees from other departments. We have informed the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Our special investigation unit has assessed and reported that these breaches are deemed very low risk. I have instructed my department to conduct additional testing to identify additional potential vulnerabilities.
The road to pay transformation has not been smooth, but we are committed to learning from this process. We are committed to independent assessments that would provide valuable insight into the planning and implementation of major projects and that would benefit our department and other government organizations.
Minister Foote has asked the Auditor General of Canada to review the implementation of the Phoenix system. If there is an audit, we will, of course, fully support the Auditor General and his staff in their work.
In closing, I want to acknowledge the hard work of the Phoenix project team and the employees at the Public Service Pay Centre. I also want to thank the other departments for their support.
I look forward to helping the committee with its work.
I want to reiterate to the committee members that we are in the process of fixing the problems and that getting employees paid remains our most urgent priority.
I was asked yesterday by someone, “Did employees get paid today?” The answer to that question is that over 294,000 got paid their regular pay yesterday and, in addition, close to 35,000 of other types of payments, such as extra-duty pay, were received.
Thank you. I look forward to your questions. My colleagues and I are here to answer any questions you may have.
To me, when we talk about the system, it is from the moment somebody works until that person get a paycheque in his or her bank account. There are many parts in this system. There is obviously the user, who has to put information in, and managers, who have to approve. There is the software that is in-between, and there is the pay centre, where compensation advisers have to work. So there are different elements in that system.
We knew, and I think it was a recognized fact, that when you launch a system and a transformation of the magnitude of this one—remember that we're talking about close to 300,000 employees and over 100 departments.... Remember the rule we talked about, the 80,000. This is a massive undertaking.
There was a recognition that there were things that you would not know until you actually turned the system and that there would be a learning curve for people in getting used to the system.
In my assessment, when you look back, I would say there were two things we did not see coming. The first thing was that we did not expect to have a backlog when we transferred. So at the end, before the transfer to Phoenix, a number of transactions were there, at the very end, as we were about to change to Phoenix. There were about 20,000 transactions that arrived at the tail end that we didn't have time to process. So we started with a backlog.
On top of that, about 20,000 extra-duty pay transactions were transferred to us, once the system was launched, that were actually pre-Phoenix. So we started with a backlog of 40,000 transactions right there. That part we had not evaluated properly.
I'll give you a short example: overtime. It used to be that you would fill out your form for overtime, and then it would take eight to 12 weeks to get paid, because it was paper and it would go through the system. Today if you work overtime, you enter it, your manager approves it, and it's paid on the next paycheque.
If you enter your overtime.... Maybe overtime is not a good example. I'll give you the example of acting pay. Acting pay is the same thing. If you enter the acting pay when a person is acting in a position, it will be done automatically. But if you decide to wait, and a month or three months later, you say, “Oh, I have to make sure that this person gets the acting pay”, and it is then processed, it becomes a manual transaction. It's not automated, because it's outside the current system.
It's a system that is made to be used live. There are a lot of things I think we underestimated that we needed to make sure employees understood: how to use the system, what to do. That's what we're working on very hard.
First, I would like to thank you for inviting us here today to speak. I am the president of the Government Services Union, one of the components within the Public Service Alliance of Canada. We represent the pay administration, and certainly the Miramichi pay transformation that's embedded within Miramichi and the compensation advisers.
We're working very closely, and have for the last five years, with the former PWGSC, now PSPC, in the rollout of the pay transformation. We support pay transformation and we see the value of it.
Five years ago we struck a committee with the employer, with the PSPC, called the Transformation of Pay Modernization Union/Management Consultation Committee, and we meet on a quarterly basis. For the last five years, I and Chris Aylward, the national executive vice-president of the PSAC, have attended those meetings to talk about issues relating to the transformation.
As we went through each wave of transformation, and through the training with the newly hired consultants and the compensation advisers, we became very close to this new community of compensation advisers. There are between 400 and 420 compensation advisers at any one time in Miramichi administering pay.
I will tell you that it is one of the most complicated jobs one could possibly imagine. The majority of the people who work in Miramichi are recent hires. They're new to government, and they're certainly new to the pay community. Learning 27 collective agreements, administering federal government pay with 27 different bargaining agents, is a phenomenal task. I have almost 30 years in government and I can imagine what it must be like to be hired off the street to learn this task.
The pressure of the rollout, knowing when the program of Phoenix was to roll out, the transfer and the wave of files that would come through, was extremely strenuous. People couldn't keep up with it. From my perspective, the biggest struggle that we suffered was trying to get the employer to slow down. We met numerous times and asked them to do that.
We said, we see the value and understand the intent of the outcome of this project, but we're getting calls on a daily basis from broken compensation advisers in Miramichi. We have people emotionally upset. We have people crying coming to work, crying going home at night, and they fear losing their jobs. They value the jobs they've received in the Miramichi. They're very proud to be working for the Government of Canada, and the pressure they take home every night must be very burdensome to their families as well.
We approached the department and asked them to ease up on that last rollout of files, that last transfer of 130,000 files. We asked them to please ease up and let them get caught up, because they don't understand. They're struggling to deliver pay. But the rollout went ahead.
I understand there's an obligation on the party of the government to issue pay on a timely basis, so not only do I represent the pay community, but I also sit here for the PSAC representing over 130,000 people who deserve to be paid every two weeks for services provided. That's a basic employment standard rule. We work very closely with our pay and compensation community and they tell us what the problems are and we appreciate that support.
We have developed a very good working relationship with Madame Lemay and her staff. We take issues to her, including crisis issues, and we get calls every day. I know Debi will speak to her issues. I hear from people who are going to food banks, who've extended their credit cards, who can't pay their rent and who can't pay their child care providers. So we are absolutely in a crisis situation here from the human factor perspective.
Our members at the pay centre are under immense pressure, because not only do they process pay, but sometimes on a daily basis they also have to tell people, “I'm not paying you this week. This is a pay week, but you're not scheduled to be paid. We don't have it. We haven't been able to process your pay.” That is a terrible situation to put a new compensation adviser in to have to tell somebody there's no pay this week.
We repeatedly brought it to the employer's attention that we were concerned. We were concerned from what our members were telling us in Miramichi, that they were not going to be able to deliver pay. When you go from 2,700 compensation advisers who have more than 10 and 20 years experience and you drop that to 400 new hires, a lot of them new to government, that's an unrealistic expectation for something as complicated as pay.
The training needs were never met. Initially, a new hire in Miramichi was given an 18-month learning plan. After two years, it was dropped to 12 months. That's too short a window, because they would be training in the morning and be online and on the phones in the afternoon. It wasn't consistent training.
We were concerned about pilot testing. I've heard this today. We were very concerned that pilot testing wasn't done on a cross-section of risk pays. Thirty per cent of the pay administration is complicated. Whether it's for ships' crews, high-voltage workers, or students in Parks Canada, pay administration is complicated.
We asked for that second rollout to slow down and reported the problems, but we weren't listened to and the problems escalated. We now know, through all the lessons learned, that through the training and through the testing we couldn't rely on the technology. The technology was failing. We had pay administrators in Miramichi who couldn't get answers. They had no one to get answers from when they were trying to input pay and nobody could tell them. They were so creative that they were creating their own cheat sheets. A pay administrator would figure out how to solve a problem. They would huddle. They would bring everybody over to the desk and they would write little cheat cards and they would share them with each other and say, “Here's how you solve this pay problem.” They became very self-sufficient.
I don't believe that was the intent.
We're always open to discussion and we've proposed many recommendations going forward. The bottom line is that it has to be fixed. People have to be paid. There's no question about it. That's a reasonable expectation.
The adverse effects on these new compensation communities has just been overwhelming. There are 40 new people who were hired in January in Miramichi, but they're 40 new people off the street who do not have compensation experience. You need to have experience to do compensation. We have reached out to the retired community. We supported the department to try to encourage these people to come back, but there are people who are offended and felt they were dismissed rather quickly and rather cursorily, and don't feel the commitment. So we've reached out and pleaded with them as well, that there are 300,000 people who need to be paid and we're begging for their support. We understand their disappointment and frustration with their former employer, but we're asking for their support.
My expertise is not technology. I'll let Debi speak to that area from a Shared Services perspective, but we did not feel that the appropriate project management of the technology and the rollout at Miramichi was there. It takes experts and takes years to manage this kind of project and we were very concerned about it. We voiced our concern at every turn. So we find ourselves here today. It was a very exciting experience for us to sit and listen to the proceedings. I know Debi and I both share our concerns. The bottom line is that we will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our members get paid and that the Miramichi people, who have worked so very very hard, are respected.
I'd like to begin by also thanking the committee for the opportunity to testify today on what has probably become the single most important and pressing issue facing our members today, and I don't take that lightly given that we are also in a crucial round of collective bargaining as we speak.
I'm here representing the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. We have over 50,000 public service professionals working in departments and agencies across the public service. These are doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers, and those in informatics, etc.
As you are all aware, serious problems persist within the government's Phoenix pay system, and many PIPSC members continue to go without pay or are missing significant parts of their pay. Despite recognition of the problem by senior officials and an apology from the government, we remain without a solution and with no clear timeline for individual and collective remedies.
PIPSC has been sounding the alarm. You asked that question earlier. PIPSC has been sounding the alarm since early in April, which is some months after PSAC started sounding the alarm. We met with Ms. Lemay prior to the second wave, and we did also request that this transformation be delayed until at least, at a minimum, the problems that arose out of the first wave were rectified. We were told at that time that this was not in the cards. They were unwilling not to flip the switch on the second wave, and it was imminent. They had assured us that they had gone through the problems that were raised in wave one, and almost all of those had been resolved. That, unfortunately, was not the case.
We have some 400 cases that are formal cases. That means people who contacted their union to file a complaint because they no longer took it on good will that they were going to be paid. Many of those are still from phase one, that is, dating from February. We are now seeing in the last couple of weeks new pay issues arising, which is of particular concern. Now we're not just talking about the ones that existed when we first implemented the system, but as we are fixing the system in some areas, it is creating new problems in other areas.
The problems continue to add up. We've had northern nurses, where recruitment and retention is already an issue, quit over their pay problems. They're a particularly hard-hit group because they work their regular hour shift work and rely on overtime for a significant portion of their pay. This is in an area already suffering from lack of good health care services in the north.
We've heard many stories of new parents returning to work and going without pay for months as they struggle to cover child care and housing costs; and students so hard hit that managers are pooling money together to help them with their groceries.
I was at a meeting recently in Alberta, and a spouse of one of my members asked why employees were still going to work without pay. He noted that as a small business owner, his employees would not show up if they weren't paid. With passion, another one of my members, a nurse practitioner, got up and explained that they continued to do their work regardless of the pay because they believed in the work and were loyal to Canadians and to the service they provided to them.
The federal government shouldn't be taking advantage of the dedication and the hard work of federal public servants. We need to fix this problem.
For members who have contacted our national union, we currently have 360 cases, 138 of which are critical. What's a critical case? It's a person who receives zero pay or doesn't receive enough pay to make ends meet. This doesn't always capture all the individuals who are facing this problem. This is just the number of people we know about. And we know from the government's own numbers that tens of thousands are affected.
As a first step, we need to see immediate action to get emergency pay directly from departments and agencies. If this is the only way to help those employees who are going for multiple pay periods without pay, then departments really have to get better and quicker at it. It seems to be a workable solution except, it's not working.
Because of the continued problems with Phoenix and our desire to do something to help our members, the PIPSC board of directors has instituted a loans program for our hardest hit members. We are offering loans to our members, which is way outside of our mandate, to ensure that they can make ends meet. We hope this will alleviate some of the genuine stress and harm being done to our members by this poorly executed transition to the new pay system.
We've also written to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. So when you asked did she know about this, well, she ought to have known about it. My union and the other 17 federal public sector unions have been very vocal about describing not just that there are issues but also what those issues are, and even offering up solutions.
We're now working with the Treasury Board to establish concrete steps to ensure that our members are paid and are compensated for additional financial penalties; and yet people from February are still not being paid. We're sending these urgent cases directly to the Treasury Board Secretariat, but we have yet to see very many of them resolved—and certainly not in the timely and effective way that Ms. Lemay seemed to characterize as the way they would now be taken care of.
Many questions need to be asked and answered, when it comes to solving this mess. My top questions, for starters, which I'd like to put to the committee, because I believe my role here is more to ask questions than to answer them for you, are the following.
A commercial product, a so-called off-the-shelf product, appears not to have been adequately tested. I understand from reports that perhaps up to 16,000 records were tested. This is more than likely way too low a number for a system that has been said in the past to have more than 70,000 rules it may need to apply.
What were the testing protocols and timelines? Can we see reports and evidence of the testing processes? Clearly, the results are not reflective of what's actually going on. Is it possible to test 70,000 rules with only 16,000 records? Wouldn't it be difficult to test the interaction of all of those rules with each other with only 16,000 records?
Was there a contingency in place, if Phoenix failed? I think we could say that it's failing.
It seems doubtful right now, but can we go back to the old system, or are there other answers that we need, to ensure that going forward we have a system that works?
Our union has been raising concerns with outsourcing and contracting out as well of many public services. We've seen the use of outside contractors balloon, especially in the IT sector. We have evidence of other projects that are over budget and late, such as the government's email transformation, which was outsourced to Bell and CGI. To what extent was the testing and implementation of this transition outsourced to IBM or other companies, when our members stand ready to do it?
We would like to see this committee look seriously at these questions and to continue to strive to find a solution, so that our trusted, hardworking public servants can be paid. I'm sure you can all agree that public servants should not be paying the price for the failures of the pay system.
We at PIPSC remain at your disposal—both the government's and this committee's—to help in identifying the issues and the accompanying solutions. Anything we can do to get money into our members' pockets for their loyal service is not too much work for us, including bringing me off my vacation to come to report to this committee. I remain available to you.
Thank you so much for this opportunity.