Replacing Phoenix pay system cheaper than fixing its mess, PBO reports

Buying a new computer system for public servants’ pay, testing it and training people to use it should cost about $57 million

Parliament’s spending watchdog says the cost of building and putting in place a new pay system for federal civil servants should pale in comparison to stabilizing the failed Phoenix system.

In a report released today, the Parliamentary Budget Office says buying a new computer system for public servants’ pay, testing it and training people to use it should cost about $57 million over six years.

That’s on top of the $2.6 billion the PBO estimates it will cost to stabilize Phoenix and correct the data that’s currently being used to calculate paycheques for government employees.

But the PBO says much depends on the complexity of the new system and whether it will work any better than the current one.

READ MORE: Government to take ‘entirely different approach’ to replace Phoenix pay system

The PBO also predicts it will cost between $101.9 million and $105.7 million annually to operate a new pay system, beginning in 2024, which is says should result in significant savings compared with what the government has spent on pay systems previously.

In 2018 the Trudeau government earmarked $16 million over two years to begin searching out a replacement for Phoenix. But there was no new money set aside in the latest budget for a new system.

Phoenix has caused massive headaches for federal employees since it was launched in 2016, delivering underpayments, overpayments and in many cases no pay at all.

The Canadian Press

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