Trudeau Gov’t Not Being Open & Accountable Over Phoenix Payroll Issue by Keith Beardsley JULY 21, 2016

If you know someone in the Public Service or someone who has recently retired from the government- chances are you know someone who hasn’t been paid or who isn’t receiving the pay and benefits that they are supposed to be getting. We all have friends in that situation.

Stop and think for a minute about the impact on them personally or on their families.

-You can’t pay your bills or mortgage
-Your credit rating which will impact you for years to come will suffer
-You can’t get welfare or EI because you have a job
-For those who have been let go from positions in the government, if you can’t get your Record of
Employment, you can’t apply for EI
-If you have retired you are missing your main source of income
-Many are waiting for their severance package- that is the income they need to transition to their next job

The payroll issue is much broader than the examples above and impacts some 80,000 people- that’s a lot of workers, that is a lot of families.

Passing the buck is what politicians of all stripes are famous for doing and both Scott Brison and Prime Minister Trudeau are pretty good at it when it comes to the PHOENIX payroll issue.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the ongoing problem with the Phoenix pay system that has affected tens of thousands of government workers “is an unacceptable situation” inherited from the former Conservative government.” (CBC News)

Really? The election was when? You have been in power nine months- take some responsibility for the mess that was rolled out under your watch, not under the Conservatives, in February of this year.

Your government was warned in February that there were significant problems, but you kept rolling out the same flawed system month after month.

How about telling the media how many senior level management types are impacted (if any). Tell us how many Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers across the government aren’t getting paid.

“Trudeau said he has tasked the clerk of the Privy Council to oversee efforts to fix the system. Asked whether anyone will be held accountable for the system’s problems, Trudeau said the government is right now focusing on addressing the problems first.” (CBC News)

Trudeau claims to be open and accountable so tell us this: On what date (yes the exact date) did you ask the Clerk to do this?

You claim to run an open government, how about releasing all of the memos since the election, that were sent to yourself, the minister in charge, the Deputy Minister and your Chief of Staff about PHOENIX problems. Don’t the public and the public servants impacted have a right to know the real timeline?

Trudeau said “There will be time to talk about lessons learned down the road, but we are taking this very, very seriously and ensuring that people get the support and the pay that they are owed.” (CBC News)

We can all read between the lines of that bafflegab. In other words no one at a senior level will pay a price for this fiasco. It will be shunted off to some internal senior level committee which will consult with themselves and come to the conclusion that no one was responsible and these issues could not have been anticipated.

Just how serious are you? Would any of your senior managers (Deputy Minister’s and Assistant Deputy Ministers) still have a job if they were working in the private sector and 80,000 workers were having pay problems? These folks need to be fired, reassigned or demoted.


  1. I see Keith is still bitter that Harper wasn’t reelected. It may have been rolled out under the Liberals and Justin Trudeau. But Phoenix was created by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper. The one to blame is Harper and his crew for wanting an off-the-shelf solution. Off-the-shelf solutions do not work when you are dealing with the number of employees the PS has.

  2. I don’t always agree with Keith but the simple fact is the Liberals own this one hands down. Embarrassing to have a such a lame leader who cannot take ownership of a mess the Liberals allowed to occur. Passing the buck is a full time Liberal function. How humiliating.

  3. Author

    I would agree David. This issue is 100% on the government; not for what happened, but for how it was handled. People have been dealing with this for months. That has nothing to do with any failure of the previous government switching to this system.

    Once they knew there was an issue it should have been tackled and employees welfare should have been a priority.

  4. Author

    The bigger question was where were the unions representing those employees all these past few months?

  5. This is terrible. When people have to pay mortgage, or rent, taxes, etc. including food, utilities and what not and have no money then what. The banksters as in gangsters are not going ot wait for their money nor are the supermarkets. I have always known that Trudeau is an incompetent leader and I will never change my mind. Yes Liberal/Fiberal are known to pass the buck on to someone else.

  6. The unions warned the government numerous times that Phoenix wasn’t ready to be rolled out. Once you start to roll out a new system you can not flip flop between old and new systems. Computers don’t work that way and the two systems were probably not compatible. I remember when we moved to a new system with HRSDC it was all in on one, no going back and forth.

  7. Sometimes, cleaning up the crap left behind by a previous government can’t be done as quickly as it should.

  8. Party politics are irrelevant, let’s not get distracted.

    After every election the government is still the government. And in this case the government was reckless, negligent, and is now proving ineffective.

    Someone told the Minister it was a go; that person’s the problem. Maybe start looking at the Deputy Minister and Director General overseeing the project.

  9. When there is a serious problem in the payroll or anything else you don’t wait months in order to have it corrected. If this program Phoenix does not work or hasn’t got the kinks out of it before using it then you don’t take the chance and use something that will not work. Why wait for months instead of reacting the moment it happens. Justine is not competent at all.

  10. Admin the union may not have realized there was a problem until their own paychecks were impacted. When the union dues stopped coming in because the paychecks were not coming

  11. Mr. Oldham that made me laugh about what you said about the unions not getting paid. It takes that organization who is there for themselves and ripping off people especially the little people who make very little and pretending that they are there to help them. Justine knows absolutely nothing and my husband and I were talking about this earlier along with what boondoggles that Pierre made.

  12. I have read in yesterday’s Ottawa papers that it may take till sometime in 2018 to got through the system to find out what is going on. This is completely rediculous. I am telling everyone just wait and see how much trouble that we Canadians are going to be in if Justine still holds on as PM. The debt bubble will be outrageous and we have to pay for all of that. It will be a collossal debt.

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