How Much Damage Will Phoenix Do Before It Rises From The Ashes?

Could your family survive not getting paid for months on end? How about a year? That is what is happening to tens of thousands of Canadian families under the Trudeau Liberals.

In 2009 our previous Conservative Government began the careful process of developing a new system to pay public employees. In 2011 we contracted IBM to develop the new pay system. Phoenix was originally slated to be implemented in May of 2015 but our Government listened to the experts and delayed the rollout because of outstanding “critical” defects in the system. It just wasn’t ready.

When the Trudeau Liberals came to power (apparently assuming the problems would fix themselves) they rushed into implementing the new system–despite having been repeatedly warned by experts, unions and former government officials that Phoenix was not ready. In February of 2016 the Liberals launched the first phase of the Phoenix Pay System for public servants. Within three months it became apparent to everyone—except the Liberals–that the experts had been right.

Despite a myriad of cases of public servants being underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all, the Liberals went ahead with phase two of Phoenix (and de-commissioned the old pay system). By April of 2016 all 290,000 public sector employees were at the mercy of Phoenix, and the problems just kept rolling in.

By July of 2016, 80,000 people had been affected by the premature implementation of Phoenix. Not only were there ongoing problems with pay, benefits and pensions but now there was a new problem—privacy. As early as January, senior government officials had been warned that there was serious flaw with Phoenix that put the privacy and personal information of public employees at risk. Judy Foote, the Minister in charge claimed she had no knowledge of the issue—despite repeated warnings to her department. The CBC reported that Government documents show information about the privacy breach was removed from a key accountability document called a Privacy Impact Assessment. Details about the Phoenix privacy flaw were purged from a report on Jan. 21, after government officials claimed that “the issue had been resolved.” It had not.

Justin Trudeau and his Government denied responsibility for the fiasco, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The problems continued.

In an effort to get the situation under control, Foote hired temporary staff to help deal with the flood of complaints. It soon came to light (again via CBC reporting) that those staffing Phoenix had not been screened and lacked the necessary security clearance. And people still weren’t getting paid.

Month after month passed. Savings accounts emptied and credit card bills soared as tens of thousands of Canadians waited for the Government to fix Phoenix. Their wait continues.

In February of this past year there was a further slap in the face for public service employees: the revelation that executives in the department overseeing the Phoenix Pay System had received $5 million in “performance pay” bonuses over the past year–even as thousands of public servants were dealing with not being paid.

A few weeks ago the Prime Minister announced a ministerial working group to address the issues with the Phoenix Pay System—one year and three months after this fiasco began. It is beyond ridiculous that it has taken more than a year for the Liberals to form a simple working group to find a solution.

The Liberals launched this program, knowing that it wasn’t yet ready. It has been mismanaged at every turn. It is hurting Canadian families and it is going to cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up yet another Liberal boondoggle. Now there are reports that the problems with Phoenix may not be fully resolved for another two years.

Justin Trudeau can afford to go a few months without getting paid but most Canadians cannot. Employees who are on the verge of losing their homes, being forced to postpone their educations, or going into debt because they are not being paid properly cannot wait two more years.

Just wasn’t ready…