The federal government says it’s working hard to remedy a number of outstanding pay problems but admits it probably won’t have cleared the entire backlog by October 31st
– its self-imposed deadline.
“Increasingly, we're seeing many of the cases left in the backlog are very complicated and require time-consuming manual calculations,” said Marie Lemay, deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada – the department in charge of rectifying the troubled Phoenix payroll system.
Lemay said at a press conference yesterday that the department would be aiming for the deadline but explained that the increasing complexity of cases was slowing the process down.
“In addition we are processing some transactions that date back several years,” she commented.
She also revealed that pay system employees have closed 12,824 more files since her last update earlier this month – marking a reduction in the overall backlog by over 51,000 cases, or more than 60 per cent of the original number in the system as of July 1.
New software purchased by the previous Conservative government is at the centre of the ongoing pay debacle – it was first put into operation this spring. Now, the government has budgeted an extra $50 million to handle issues related to Phoenix, including millions of dollars being paid to tech giant IBM to help fix the system.
More than 82,000 civil servants reported problems with their paycheques and hundreds had not been paid at all – in some cases, for months.
Earlier this month, the department began processing claims from employees who incurred out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the pay debacle, such as interest on credit cards and lines of credit.
- Written with contributions from the Canadian Press