The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) said the federal budget falls short on fixing the Phoenix pay system, and could do more to address gender inequality.
Budget 2018 included $16 million over two years to work with experts, federal public sector unions, and technology providers on a way forward for a new pay system.
“In the interim, the government will continue to address the existing pay challenges. To this end, Budget 2018 proposes an investment of $431.4 million over six years, starting in 2017–18, to continue making progress on Phoenix issues, including hiring additional staff to support the pay system,” according to budget documents
PSAC Atlantic regional executive vice-president Colleen Coffey said while PSAC welcomes “any system that will pay our people on time and accurately,” she pointed out that a new system is many years down the road and they still have 600,000 open cases in which employees are having Phoenix pay-related issues.
“For today, we still have to deal with Phoenix, and we have to deal with this for at least the next, about, two years.”
Coffey said PSAC has a national day of action planned for today (Wednesday) with rallies across the country asking the government to fix the system.
“They have to continue to ensure that people, whoever they are, work on the Phoenix payroll system to make it work so that it works for us, and so that it does pay people. We want them to commit to doing that for as long as it takes because I don’t believe any of us in the PSAC world believe that this is going to go away in six months … it’s going to take several years. So, we need them to be committed to that.”
Coffey also said while PSAC is happy to see proactive pay equity legislation and the employment insurance parental sharing benefit included in the budget, there is still more that needs to be done to address gender inequality.
“If the government is truly committed to addressing gender inequality, it must include the necessary investments in affordable, universal, high quality childcare. … We are disappointed that the government failed to deliver what Canadian families need — we need affordable, quality childcare and all Canadians need to have that.”
She also said there should have been more funding to cover the expanded 18-month parental leave, so that claimants do not need to stretch out the 12 months of benefits over an 18-month period, but rather allocate more funds so that people can get more money over that 18-month period.
Also, while the budget allocated funding for five days of paid leave for victims of domestic violence, Coffey said PSAC is advocating for 10 days, “and we will continue to do that.”