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Ottawa aims to clear backlog by March 2025 before Phoenix is ​​cut

Ottawa aims to clear backlog by March 2025 before Phoenix is ​​cut
Ottawa aims to clear backlog by March 2025 before Phoenix is ​​cut

OTTAWA — Ottawa says there are still a lot of kinks to be ironed out before it can finally scrap the error-prone Phoenix pay system for government workers. The federal government aims to clear the backlog by March of next year.

OTTAWA — Ottawa says there are still a lot of kinks to be ironed out before it can finally phase out the error-prone Phoenix pay system for government workers.

The federal government aims to eliminate this backlog by March next year.

Alex Benay, deputy assistant minister at the Department of Public Services, says there is still a backlog of about 215,000 unresolved, complex issues with the payment system.

He says the government hopes to solve more than half of the cases by the end of the year by hiring more staff and deploying artificial intelligence.

But even as employees handle the problem cases, Benay says they have no control over the number of new issues added to the pile.

The Phoenix payment system fiasco has cost the federal government $3.5 billion so far, and that number could rise as the backlog is cleared.

Benay could not say how much it will cost to fully resolve the situation, but he promised the government will be transparent about any issues it encounters along the way.

Meanwhile, he said his department is building and testing a new payroll and personnel administration system.

Phoenix was launched in 2016 to replace dozens of outdated payment systems, with the aim of saving millions of dollars.

Instead, the system was riddled with bugs and caused huge and costly upheavals in public service delivery.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press