MP for Battle River Crowfoot, Kevin Sorenson, is hoping a new Senate report on the Phoenix Pay System will help get it fixed once and for good.
The price tag of the system is three times the initial estimate to be implemented and is expected to cost millions more over the next few years. But worse, it has turned into a nightmare for federal employees simply wanting to get paid. It has been estimated to have affected over 193,000 employees.
Sorenson says this has been a concern he has heard loud and clear, especially for those at the Drumheller Institution.
“The Senate report came out this week, and to paraphrase it ‘enough is enough,’” he said “It is time to try to prioritize exactly the ones they are going to finish, in so far as the files that have been outstanding the longest, and then give us some real timelines as to when they can give a better progress report.”
He says he continues to work on the issue with people in his office and as chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
“We are seeing some results, but it is just not enough. It has just been going on for so long we are running out of patience,” he said.
He hopes the most recent report helps to get action.
“Our report was quite strong as well. We have issued two reports on the Phoenix system and there will be another study, I think this fall when we get back to parliament,” said Sorenson. “I think we are both on the same page, we want to see timelines have some prioritization.”
The Senate report also recommends that in the long term to look at options it is considering to replace the system.
“And if you are looking to replacing it and then you start again, what are the costs going to be, what is the impact on employees going to be and as well setting out the monitoring and project management measures that would be put in place to avoid the mistakes of the Phoenix system,” he said. “Both with the House reports and the Senate reports, it shows there is unanimity in the frustration of the government to get their act together and make this a priority.”
The planning for the new system began in 2009 under the Conservatives and was launched in 2016 when the Liberal government was in power.
“All along we said this is a very complex system and it shouldn’t be launched until we know it is ready. We told them it wasn’t ready and they launched it anyway, now everyone is paying for it.”