Politics

Bonuses for Phoenix executives still under review, department insists

Public Services and Procurement Canada insisted Friday that bonuses for executives responsible for the Phoenix pay system remain under review and have not been approved, after a department official said some involved in the project would get the incentive pay.

Deputy minister approved performance pay for some PSPC managers last month

Public Services Deputy Minister Marie Lemay has approved performance pay, or bonuses, for some ministry executives. Whether that includes executives involved in the troubled Phoenix payroll system is still under review, a spokeswoman says. (CBC)

Public Services and Procurement Canada insisted Friday that bonuses for executives responsible for the Phoenix pay  system remain under review and have not been approved, after a department official said some involved in the project would get the incentive pay.

The official, speaking on background Friday, told CBC News that performance pay had been approved for some executives involved with the troubled payroll system.

But the department's media relations manager, Me'Shel Gulliver Bélanger, later contacted CBC News to apologize for any confusion and stressed that bonuses for the top decision-makers responsible for Phoenix were still under review.

Bonuses for some department executives have been approved.

In a statement sent to CBC News earlier this week, spokesman Nicolas Boucher said, "a decision was made by Deputy Minister Marie Lemay to process some PSPC executives' performance pay on Nov. 23, 2016."

"The amount of money given to executives will be posted on [the Treasury Board Secretariat's] website in the future."

The department did not say at the time how many executives were approved for performance pay. Gulliver Bélanger said Friday she couldn't confirm that those receiving bonuses had no involvement with Phoenix.

More than 80,000 affected

Since Ottawa launched Phoenix, more than 80,000 public servants have been underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all.

Union officials believe the number of public servants who have experienced pay problems is much larger, as the 80,000 case backlog only includes employees who came forward with an issue before July 1.

To the frustration of union officials and public servants, the government has not released the number of workers who have experienced pay problems since that date. 

The government has hired more than 200 compensation advisers to help resolve the pay issues, and has opened a call centre with more than 100 agents to field questions from public servants.

The government is reviewing the system's launch, and the decision on bonuses for some of the more senior executives will be delayed until that analysis is complete.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Lemay said she expected the review to be completed this spring. 

Corrections

  • This story has been updated from an earlier version that stated, based on information from a department official, that some executives directly involved with the Phoenix pay system were approved to receive bonuses. Public Services and Procurement Canada has since said that the bonuses remain under review.
    Dec 16, 2016 4:55 PM ET

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Simpson is a foreign correspondent with CBC News based in Washington. Prior to joining the team in D.C. she spent six years covering Parliament Hill in Ottawa and nearly a decade covering local and provincial issues in Toronto.

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