PSAC formally requests PM launch public inquiry on Phoenix

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National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Chris Aylward, has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting a national public inquiry on Phoenix.

“PSAC has carefully reviewed the latest report from the Auditor General, and we are now prepared to make the formal case for why a public inquiry is needed,” said Aylward.

Calling Phoenix an “incomprehensible failure,” the Auditor General cautioned that, to prevent another similar disaster from occurring, there is a need for “changes that go beyond the recommendations” made in his report.

According to Aylward, a public inquiry will build upon the work done by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and the firm Goss Gilroy.

“Both the Goss Gilroy report and the OAG reports clearly advise that the problems that have led to the Phoenix debacle have not been resolved,” said Aylward. “Although both reports point to significant problems, neither were tasked with making recommendations that address those problems.”

In the letter, Aylward identifies three key issues that require further exploration:

  • The lack of meaningful consultation with key stakeholders, like the compensation advisors and the federal public service unions, during the development and implementation of Phoenix.
  • The individual and structural accountability for this disaster – who made the decisions, as well as how and why decisions were made.
  • The culture in federal public service that created the environment for this “incomprehensible failure” to happen, and how to change this culture to prevent another Phoenix.

Aylward also notes that a public inquiry will provide a public forum for witness testimony and evidence, something which was not accomplished through the OAG or Goss Gilroy reports. This includes the stories of the federal public service workers impacted by pay roll problems.