Canadian Government To Decide On New Pay System By Spring, Reports Say

Canada is currently looking for new payment and HR management software to replace their problem-plagued Phoenix system by the time spring rolls in, sometime around February, with a new procurement method that could see a new system purchased by that time, if needed, according to reports from Canada’s Chief Information Officer, Alex Benay, who is responsible for dealing with the matter.

Benay says that they are currently looking into pay and HR management software options, and that no system was off the table. He offered no details on the matter or on timelines, but implied that his team was currently working on developing the new system, dubbed Next Gen, as fast as responsibly possible.

During an interview early in September on whether or not the Canadian government should just outsource the payroll, like many large-scale private-sector companies do, Benay says that it’s unlikely to happen, thanks to the difficulties that would encounter from the widely varying jobs in public service.

He says that it doesn’t seem like a better option, from a business-alignment perspective, but that they are looking at it, all the same. He says that major companies like Walmart don’t have armed forces, a coast guard, correctional officers or regular office workers.

Benay is in charge of a Treasury Board Secretariat team looking into replacements for the Canada’s current payroll and HR management software, Phoenix. The team has already requested information from suppliers, but will be releasing an official request for proposals later in September, and will be expecting vendors to provide functional prototypes by December or January. The team is also getting input from employees, unions and pay advisers, as these people have stakes in the pay process.

There is no definitive verdict as to whether or not the new system will be centralized like Phoenix, or will see clustered departments working through compatible systems. Benay says that there could be more than one supplier, but that the decisions had to be made using empirical data, and the work is to proceed as openly and transparently as possible.

The Phoenix project was built was from off-the-shelf software which the Canadian government had IBM configure to match the Feds’ 32 HR systems, as well as centralizing the pay advisers for more than 40 departments into the Public Pay Centre, located in Miramichi, New Brunswick. The project was intended to save the government $70 million annually, but reports from the Chief Financial Officer said it could cost $3.5 billion and half a decade’s work to fix, which the government needs to do thanks to the issues the system had, which included a lack of integration between human resources and pay processes.