La ministre des Services publics et de l’Approvisionnement à la période des questions au Sénat / Can

Transcription de l’intervention du sénateur Claude Carignan avec la ministre des Services publics et de l’Approvisionnement, l'honorable Judy Foote, à la période des questions au Sénat sur le système de paye Phénix

Le système Phénix

Le sénateur Claude Carignan : Bienvenue, Madame la ministre. Ma première question concerne la saine gestion des fonds publics.

Préalablement au lancement du système de paie Phénix de février dernier, le gouvernement avait retenu les services de deux cabinets d'experts-conseils pour la rédaction de deux rapports d'analyse.

Or, Madame la ministre, on apprenait récemment que vous n'avez lu qu'un seul des deux rapports, qu’en fait, vous n’avez pas pris connaissance de celui préparé par Gardner Consulting, rapport qui sonnait l'alarme quant à l'exactitude et la rapidité des processus de paie.

J'aimerais rappeler que ce rapport a coûté aux contribuables la jolie somme de 221 073,88 $. Madame la ministre, pourquoi n’avez-vous pas pris la peine de le lire? Aussi, à quoi sert de payer un quart de million de dollars pour la confection d’un rapport que vous ne consulterez pas?

Hon. Judy Foote, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Services and Procurement: Thank you so much for the question, Mr. Speaker. Let me say at the outset, my apologies for not being here on time. There were votes in the other place, and, of course, you need to be there for votes.

But it is a pleasure, certainly, to be here, in this honourable house. Thank you very much for the opportunity and the invitation.

The Phoenix payroll system has become a serious issue for us, as you would know. With respect to the Gartner Report, to which your question was specific, it was done for the Treasury Board. It was not done for Public Services and Procurement Canada. When the report that was presented to me, which had to do with whether or not we should go ahead with the Phoenix pay system, that report, in all versions of it, said proceed, and that there was no reason why we should not go ahead with Phoenix. I asked repeatedly if there was anything at all that was happening with Phoenix and if there was any reason at all why we should not proceed with it, and was told repeatedly it was ready to go. They had done several thousands of different testing scenarios, and they had looked at every possibility.

They had looked at, I was told after, the Gartner Report, and things that were contained in it were actually amended or fixed in terms of looking at what was recommended through the report. There were similar concerns raised in both reports. What I was told, after the fact, was that concerns that had been raised in the Gartner Report were essentially taken care of, and that the report that I saw was very much of a similar nature and had, in fact, recommended, on all fronts, that we proceed with Phoenix.

Le sénateur Carignan : Toujours concernant le système Phénix, on apprenait également la semaine dernière que la fonctionnaire en charge de l’implantation du système, Mme Rosanna Di Paola, avait été démise de ses fonctions.

Pourquoi a-t-elle été congédiée? Si les déboires du système Phénix sont sa faute, pourquoi conserve-t-elle un poste qui est grassement payé au sein de la fonction publique. Compte tenu des erreurs passées, ne récompense-t-on pas l’incompétence?

Hon. Judy Foote: Again, thank you for the question, Mr. Speaker.

A lot of people have worked hard on this system -- a system put in place by the previous government and it was the right thing to do. We were replacing a 40-year-old system that had failed on occasion -- in fact, on several occasions had failed completely -- so it was the right thing to do. The issue for us came when the amount of training that was required was not in fact taken advantage of. What had been recommended by IBM was that there should be a certain amount of training, but the decision was made not to go down that path.

In terms of the decisions and who was involved, there were a lot of people involved in the implementation of Phoenix. Rosanna was just one of those individuals. Rosanna wasn't the only individual who has been moved to another position. We're not into paying people for incompetence, but people worked very hard on the file. And yes, there have been some mistakes made. My job is to fix those mistakes and we're going to do that. It's taking us a little longer than we'd like, but we are going to fix the mistakes and we will have a really good payroll system as a result of the previous government recognizing the need to get rid of the 40-year-old system and put in place a more efficient one.

Bear in mind that when Phoenix came on stream we inherited 40,000 backlog cases. Those were cases dealing with pay of either overtime or first hires or student employment or people on maternity leave -- people who had not been paid. So the types of issues that we're dealing with in Phoenix aren't new. In fact, when we took over in terms of Phoenix itself 40,000 cases were backlog cases and we're dealing with those, in addition to other cases that have accrued as a result of having to deal with the backlog.

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