Free Essay Sample on Canadian Federal Government Phoenix Pay System

Published: 2022-04-12
Free Essay Sample on Canadian Federal Government Phoenix Pay System
Type of paper:  Report
Categories:  Government Banking
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1566 words
14 min read

The Phoenix pay system is a type of payroll system that is typically used by the Canadian government to pay its workers. The system has been used for a long time since it proved to be better than the one that was used previously. The system came at a time when the government needed it the most had in mind that he number of employees also increased. The system is usually run by the Public Service and Procurement department in Canada since it is the one that has been provided with the mandate to do so in the constitution. The system was adopted in the year 2016, and it was supposed to make sure that there were no cases of underpayments, non-payment or even overpayment.

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The original plan of coming up with Phoenix was carried out in 2009 by people who were taking part in public works as a way of making a replacement of the federal government system that was used for over forty years. The government had the intention of making sure that the payroll system was centralized. The government did not want the scattering of the role to take place in various departments because that was the main reason as to why people were campaigning and facing a lot of challenges. There was an intention to make sure that the new system would lower all the requirements attached to labour and also reduce the time and cost that was invested in making sure that the process was successful. At that time, the cost or funds that were set aside for the payroll system was $310 million and this was made it visible by the year 2015 (Linus, 2017). In that case, there was an expectation that the system was going to offer a saving of up to $78 million after each and every year.

In the year 2010, there was an announcement that the new pay system would be launched and it would be based in Miramichi, New Brunswick. IBM was the company that won the contract of coming up with a new system, and in that case, it opted to make use of the PeopleSoft software as it was the most appropriated in its case. During the signing of the contract, IBM was supposed to be a paid only $5.7 million, but it ended up getting a sum of up to $185 million (Terry, 2014). Some people made complain about not being paid before the introduction of the new system in the year 2015. When it came to the year 2016, the Phoenix pay system was officially launched, and therefore it was distributed to over 34 departments. In that case, about 120, 000 workers were affected by the government related sectors. There were still people complaining that they were underpaid and the led to the delaying of the second phase of the system so that all the errors could be corrected.

Even after the new payment system was rolled out, people were complaining. The complaints were in the form of being underpaid, being overpaid and others still complained of not being paid at all. The main issue was connected with the system as many people said that it was not operating in the way it was expected (Terry, 2014). There was no way the government could get back to the old pay system as it had already been phased out. In action, the wanted people something new because the old one was also full of issues that needed to be solved to a great extent. The government still went ahead to introduce the second phase of the system regardless of the complains that came from the people.

In June in the year 2016, the government took a step of launching a satellite pay centered located in Gatineau as a way of responding to the problems that the employees were facing at that time (Terry, 2014). The center was supposed to serve the issues of about 100 employees. The federal union was not happy with the move, and they opted to sue the government because they had a feeling that it was trying to take part in forcing of on-time payments. There were meetings conducted by the MPs to discuss some of the ways the system could be corrected to give the capacity to operate expectedly. There are still debates as people want the system to be scrapped but the government of Canada is still adamant and as it wants it to stay so that it can be able to find solutions to the same.

Problems of The Phoenix pay system

The issues facing the Phoenix pay systems have been focusing on the people who have experienced a change in the lifestyle and status. This means that a large group of found themselves suffering whereas they were living the best kinds of life at the time when the Phoenix system had not been introduced. Some of the people who were affected by the introduction of the system include the students, seasonal employees, temporary employees and also the new hires. Those who were coming back from extended leave were also affected because they found that a new system had been introduced whereas they were supposed to be paid using the old system.

The fact that most of the employees have experienced a drop in the way they were paid has led to the problems that can be seen from an environmental perspective. For instance, many are not able to pay for the healthcare services, and this has led to an increased mortality rate. Disability claims have also increased as many people cannot afford to get treatment when they get injuries at work. The insurance benefits are also deteriorating as people are paying for the premiums that have been set aside. Those who have not been paid at all and those who are experiencing underpayments are the ones who are profoundly affected by the system. On the other hand, there are still those who have been experiencing better lives due to the cases misappropriation of funds that have been favoring them. The government has not stepped forward to make it clear on whatever has been happening because some of the government officials seem to benefit from the overpayments that have been taking place (Harnandes, 2016). The system has led to gaps and differences between the rich and the poor. Those who have experienced a complete change of status are on the streets trying to figure out how they can be able to be compensated for all that they have lost.

Causes of the problems

There have been some causes attached to the problems that Phoenix has been facing over the past few years of its existence. Most of the government officials have been putting all blames on the employees who have not been trained on how to use the system. This has been mentioned concerning those who are working in Miramichi pay center. Many of them are not well conversant with the way the system works, and they end up making errors during operation (Fredrick, 2016). The Federal union has also been posing the blames on IBM as they try to make a comparison of the system that they designed with the Queensland Health payroll problems.

The blame has also been based on the former Conservative government which has not been training the employees on how to use the system. Also, it has been cutting and underspending when it comes to the use of the system. The money that they get after the activity is used for personal gains and that is the reason why the people are complaining, but no one seems to respond. The Liberal government has also not been left aside in the complains in that it rolled out the system regardless of the warnings that it had been given.


Some solutions are attached to the use of the newly rolled out system. It is evident that it is full of problems and the people need to find a way of making sure that everything is done in the right manner. Since the system is still new, the designers (that is IBM) should come up with a way in which they can provide documentation of how the system is used. Also, it should be able to provide training to the people who will be using the system having in mind that many of them are not well conversant with what it entails. It should produce flowcharts and test results showing the credibility of the system and how it should be put in place. Also, it should come up with acceptance forms to show that the government has approved it and that it is ready for use (Harnandes, 2016). The new system should also be made in such a way that highlights all the capacity limits and the procedures that can be applied during the recovery process. The main aim, in this case, is to make sure that the employees do not exceed the limits that have been put in place. The government should also be ready to make quick assessments of the areas that need adjustments so that corrective measures can be put in place.


Fredrick, L. (2016). "Who should shoulder the blame for Phoenix Fiasco?" CBC News.

Harnandes, L. (2016). "A working system is year's away audit says." CTV News.

Linus, P. (2017). "Public servants disability claims stuck in Phoenix Pay-System Blocklog." Ottawa Citizen.Terry, P. (2014). "Phoenix Pay System should be scrapped completely union tells Liberal Government." The Toronto Star.

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