Evidence of meeting #56 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was classification.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Bibiane Ouellette  Clerk of the Committee , Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates
  • Susan Louis-Seize  Association of Compensation Advisors
  • John Gordon  National President, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Diane Melançon  Association of Compensation Advisors
  • Michael Brandimore  Association of Compensation Advisors
  • David Orfald  Director of Planning and Organizational Development, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Margaret Jaekl  Classification Officer, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Rob Walsh  Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

The motion is that given the lack of satisfactory information providing assurance to the committee that the employee compensation delivery system is functioning as it should, and given the number of errors reported by government employees in the recent past, the chair be authorized to send a letter to the Auditor General asking her to examine this file and make recommendations as to how federal public employees can be paid properly and on time.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Before we go forward, do you want a letter, or do you want us to invite her?

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Let's invite her.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Mr. Bonin.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Nickel Belt, ON

I would like to respond to that. If the Auditor General comes here as an invited guest, she can only say “Oh, is that so?” She is the expert. She should look into it. All we can do is tell her what we've heard here. But she needs to get into the heart of it and find out what the problem is. I don't think she can contribute. She probably could; she's a smart lady.

June 7th, 2007 / 4:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

One thing I would suggest, then, is that the clerk put together the written testimony that has been provided by these witnesses and others and compile it and give it to her as a starting point.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Absolutely. We could also give her all the correspondence I have received and anything else we have. She has already asked for the blues, I'm told.

I'll call the question.

(Motion agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Give her the blues as well, Madam Clerk. I know it takes time, but I think it would be helpful.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Okay.

Before they leave, Mr. Albrecht, did you want to ask them a question? We can continue. We also have Mr. Walsh waiting afterwards, but we have time.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you to the witnesses for appearing today.

It's pretty obvious that we have a very complex situation. You mentioned the 70,000 rules and regulations and the 10,000 pages, and on and on. Earlier this week we had someone from Treasury Board Secretariat outline two very simple differentiations as to how this is working. One is a generalist—the pay advisor cares for all the different activities—and one is a specialist: it's farmed out, so to speak, to different specialists. It seems rather contradictory to me that on one hand, I think I heard Madame Melançon say, your advisors want to do all of it, and yet you have 70,000 regulations for that one person to do all of it. Help me understand why it wouldn't be helpful to have one person specializing on one issue and another on another. I'm just having trouble understanding that.

4:35 p.m.

Association of Compensation Advisors

Diane Melançon

I know this is surprising to you, but most of us, the compensation advisors, the people I know, are very hard-working people. We care about giving excellent service. We don't believe in your calling this telephone line and getting a ticket number.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

So that's the sticking point, the 1-800 number, which then divides them.

4:35 p.m.

Association of Compensation Advisors

Diane Melançon

Yes. And I know employees.... I know a compensation advisor who works at PWGSC and she is working right now on specific actings, overtime for employees. She had this employee ask, “Could you prepare a pension estimate for me if I wish to retire in three months?” And she was going to do it, because she believes in giving good service. She's from my department. She transferred there. And she was told, “Don't you dare. You are not allowed to do this. She's going to have to be given a ticket number and it's another section doing that, and that's it and that's all.”

That is not good service.

4:35 p.m.

Association of Compensation Advisors

Michael Brandimore

Can I add something to that too? I think the problem with when those are prepared, and we've run into this often, is that people don't understand the complexity of the work we do and they assume that all these things are unrelated. They're not unrelated at all. And as I mentioned earlier, in the departments that have gone that route, that's where the chaos is.

So it looks like, when you look at this, why would you not want to do that?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

I think you've helped me understand that.

In your submission you mention under number 3 that an independent classification officer looked at the case in 2003 and would have reclassified you from AS-2 to AS-5. Could you help me understand what the difference is in terms of compensation between those two levels? Could you give me a range?