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OGGO Committee Report

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The Government welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates on “The Right Pay for Valuable Employees”.

The Government has taken note of the observations and recommendations in the Second Report and is pleased to inform the Committee that it will undertake actions with respect to most recommendations found therein.

The Government is deeply committed to improving the effectiveness and timeliness of compensation to Public Service employees.  This is why the Government is supportive of Public Works and Government Services Canada’s Compensation Modernization Initiatives.  The Government’s commitment is further demonstrated in the Policy on Terms and Conditions of Employment which came into effect April 1, 2009. The Policy clarifies responsibilities and accountabilities of deputy heads with respect to the application and administration of all terms and conditions of employment in their organizations, which includes compensation service delivery.

Recommendation 1

That the Government take immediate action to provide equitable pay for Compensation Advisors in the federal public service and other federal public sector agencies.

The Government remains committed to providing fair and equitable compensation for all of its employees, including the Program and Administration Services (PA) Group within which the Compensation Advisors are classified in Core Public Administration departments and agencies. On January 29, 2009, the Government signed a collective agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada in which pay rates for all employees in the PA group were agreed upon.  Furthermore, the Government has taken action to ensure equitable compensation for all employees in the federal public sector, including Compensation Advisors, by tabling the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act (PSECA) as part of the Budget Implementation Act 2009.

A group representing Compensation Advisors filed a pay equity complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the Government of Canada.  The Budget Implementation Act (BIA) required that the complaint be transferred to the Public Services Labour Relations Board.  Transitional measures in the BIA provide for very strict timelines for complaints to be resolved and the Compensation Advisors’ complaint will be subject to the transitional provisions of the BIA, thus referring the complaint to the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Due to the pay equity complaint before the Public Services Labour Relations Board, it would be inappropriate for the Government to pursue any additional initiatives at this time.

Recommendation 2

That the Government work with the representatives of its Compensation Advisors to develop a classification standard that reflects the complexity of their duties.

The Government reached a settlement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Program and Administrative Services (PA) collective agreement was signed on January 29, 2009. The agreement contains a Memorandum of Understanding that committed the Employer to engage in meaningful consultation with PSAC on the restructuring of, amongst others, the PA Group.  As Compensation Advisors are part of the PA Group, their work will be reviewed in relation to the work done by other employees in that group.  Consultations have commenced in this regard.

Recommendation 3

That the Government actively support Public Works and Government Services Canada’s Compensation Modernization Initiative by providing the Department with the required resources and by setting a timetable with measurable objectives.

The Government accepts the recommendation insofar as it is committed to the development and consideration of an approach to modernize aging technology and supporting business processes to simplify the administration of pay for the Government of Canada.  The Pension Transformation Initiative is currently in the implementation phase.  It is replacing pension systems, streamlining processes and moving towards an improved and efficient pension service delivery model.  The Clerk of the Privy Council, in his 16th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, fully endorsed the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee recommendation for the establishment of a program to renew systems and technology in the Public Service, with the modernization of the pay system being identified as a top priority.

Recommendation 4

That the former Canada Public Service Agency and the Treasury Board Secretariat develop policies to reduce the turnover rate among federal public servants.

The Government acknowledges the importance of ensuring the appropriate balance between the mobility of Core Public Administration employees and the impact that a high turnover rate may have on organizations.  The importance of addressing turnover amongst the Core Public Administration has also been recognized by the Clerk of the Privy Council and by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service. The 2009-10 Public Service Renewal Action Plan strongly emphasized the importance of linking human resources needs with organizational business needs through integrated human resources and business planning. One outcome of a more rigorous plan that focuses on recruitment, succession planning and employee development would be more stability and fewer turnovers in the Public Service workforce.

Recommendation 5

That the Government study and report to Parliament on the possibility of redistributing some of its activities to the regions of Canada in order to access a pool of candidates that would provide greater stability in its workforce.

It is important to note that 60 percent of the Core Public Administration positions are already located outside of the National Capital Region (NCR).  When distributing its activities, the Government takes into consideration factors such as the availability of a pool of candidates and the stability of the workforce.  Further, the Government commits to an examination of the business models for delivering compensation advisory services that might identify opportunities in this regard.