On October 23, PIPSC President Debi Daviau met with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. The meeting was constructive and the RCMP Commissioner expressed concern for the well-being of our members along with a commitment to delay the transfer of RCMP civilian members onto Phoenix until the system is stable.
President Daviau made clear that we expect it to be years before Phoenix is stable and that we oppose the transfer of RCMP civilian members to Phoenix. She stated our position in the most recent meeting and in a follow-up letter:
November 6, 2019
Commissioner Royal Canadian Mounted Police
RCMP National Headquarters
73 Leikin Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0R2
By email: Brenda.Lucki@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
I am writing as a follow-up to our October 23, 2019 meeting, during which you requested a short briefing note summarizing the Institute’s position and concerns regarding the potential transfer of our Civilian Members to the troubled Phoenix pay system. Please see below for our comments in that regard.
Ours was a constructive discussion that bodes well for our future working relationship. I believe you are genuinely concerned about the well-being of our members and that you are committed to holding off on the transfer until such time as Phoenix has achieved stability. While I respect your position, I must reiterate my view, and that of my members, the government’s own Information Technology specialists, that it may take years before we reach that stage, if at all.
I look forward to our continued dialogue on this and related issues.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
After three years of fighting for tens of thousands of our members who are suffering under Phoenix, there is absolutely no justification for exposing RCMP Civilian Members to the same problems.
Our members deserve better and are counting on the Commissioner’s leadership to make the right, evidence-based decision: additional RCMP members should not be transferred to the Phoenix system under any circumstances, given its inherent instability and inability to handle its current workload.
(1) Performance levels continue to fall far short of standard
Despite optimism earlier this year regarding improved percentage of transactions processed within the service standard, the Pay Centre’s performance level has plateaued at 64% for the past six months. The target service standard remains at 95%. This means that one out of every three pay transactions is not being processed in accordance with the service standard.
As well, new collective agreement transactions will place additional burdens on the struggling pay system. We are anticipating a spike in the backlog in the weeks and months ahead.
(2) RCMP measures being put in place are an acknowledgment that serious problems are anticipated
Notably, steps are being taken to modify the current pay system to facilitate post-deeming retro pay when these agreements have been negotiated and implemented, including development of a special script to facilitate pension contributions. Onboarding of civilian members is also expected to require a complex set of processes and procedures.
Despite all of these extraordinary efforts, the RCMP is unable to remedy the ongoing instability and inadequacy of the pay system to meet recurring day-to day demands.
(3) Phoenix has already taken a heavy toll on existing RCMP public servants
The RCMP identifies a peak backlog of 32,840 RCMP cases in August 2018, reduced to 14,867 cases as of September 18, 2019. With 6,670 public servants employed within the RCMP in 2018, on average at peak there were 5 pay cases per employee. After one year of work to clear the backlog, there are still 14,867 cases outstanding - an average of 2.25 per employee.
These statistics don’t adequately convey the human consequences of pay errors on employees, and our Civilian Members are rightly concerned that Phoenix will jeopardize their financial security.