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Company behind Phoenix pay system set to get $2M contract to help fix system’s epic problems

Click to play video: '‘Box of band-aids’: NDP slam Liberals over speed of fix for Phoenix pay system' ‘Box of band-aids’: NDP slam Liberals over speed of fix for Phoenix pay system
The NDP slammed the Liberals over their speed at solving the Phoenix pay system and questioned if the government had a plan to fix the issue or "just a box of band-aids." – Sep 22, 2017

Ottawa is poised to award the company behind the Phoenix payroll fiasco a $2-million contract to help “stabilize” the federal government’s pay system so the government can “meet its obligation” to pay its employees the wages they’ve earned, accurately and on time.

“The continuing delays to implement successful fixes to [the pay system] include risks for many employees who continue to face economic and social hardship,” the contract notice reads.

The potential problems also extend to “reputational risks” for the government, the document reads.

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WATCH: Feds blame Harper government for Phoenix pay ‘mess’ 

Click to play video: 'Feds working with unions to clean up Phoenix pay ‘mess’ left by Harper' Feds working with unions to clean up Phoenix pay ‘mess’ left by Harper
Feds working with unions to clean up Phoenix pay ‘mess’ left by Harper – Sep 13, 2017

The $2-million contract is on top of the $142 million already earmarked to help solve the problem that has, for more than a year and a half, made the financial lives of many federal public servants a nightmare.

The contracted funds are also beyond the $70 million per year over two years Ottawa is leaving for departmental budgets as a nod to the amount the government was slated to save had the new system performed properly.

It’s also on top of the $200 each of the affected employees was offered in an effort to help soften the blow of their bungled pay when it came time to file taxes.

READ MORE: Watchdog flags privacy breaches in Phoenix pay system

And finally, this newest contract is on top of the $50 million the government spent over the last year to bolster support at pay centres across the country.

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The $2-million contract, as reported on iPolitics.ca, was posted earlier this month with the stated intention of going directly to Oracle, the company that developed the Phoenix pay system software, without any competition.

The justification for deciding which company gets the contract – as opposed to leaving it open for competition as is often the case with government contracts – is that the company has the “proprietary knowledge,” access to and experience with the software in question.

WATCH: Phoenix pay system causes big problems for tax filings

Click to play video: 'Phoenix pay system causes big problems for tax filings' Phoenix pay system causes big problems for tax filings
Phoenix pay system causes big problems for tax filings – May 4, 2017

“This access, knowledge and experience are required to mitigate risks and adopt best practices in defining a comprehensive remedial implementation plan,” according to the contract notice.

A competing company can raise an objection to the government’s decision to pre-select but must do so by Sept. 29. The proposed contract is set to span six months, from the end of this month to March.

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The Phoenix system was rolled out in February 2016 and has encountered issues ever since.

READ MORE: $4.8M in performance pay awarded in department responsible for Phoenix pay system

Instead of streamlining the payment process, Phoenix threw the entire system into disarray, leaving some public servants without any pay, others without enough pay and still others with too much.

Last week, the federal privacy watchdog raised yet another red flag in the ongoing saga.

In his annual report, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien said inadequate testing, coding errors and poor monitoring of Phoenix resulted in some public servants having their personal information, such as names and salary information, exposed.

READ MORE: One year and millions of dollars later, the ‘Phoenix fiasco’ continues

The report flagged at least 11 breaches, most of which Therrien said were “government-wide,” meaning the private information of every employee in the Phoenix system was at risk at the time of the breach.

Therrien also determined there may be lingering vulnerabilities that could lead to future breaches.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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