Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think if we look back to the rollout of Phoenix, it's no secret that there were significant challenges, and that there are still challenges, with HR-to-pay stabilization. That said, over the course of the last three years, the government has made significant investments, both in capacity—meaning human resources—and in financial support to ensure that we are eliminating the backlog of transactions as quickly as possible and that we are investing in new ways of processing pay through additional stabilization efforts.
Back in the day, the workload management model, if you will, consisted of working transaction by transaction, which was not what the unions told us we needed to do. It was not what the staff on the floor told us we needed to do, and so we have listened to the input from staff, from bargaining agents, from public servants. They've asked us to work from a more holistic perspective, which has resulted in the pay pod model, which has been established in Miramichi. With it we are aligning dedicated resources to departments or a single department or a group of departments that have comparable collective agreements, to be able to align the HR and the finance groups within those departments with the pay pod people who are actually managing the compensation on the ground. Therefore, we are able to resolve issues much more quickly and we're able to process all transactions coming in now as they come in, so that new never becomes old. This allows us essentially to stop adding to the backlog and, at the same time, with capacity in the pods, to look at cases related to the new intake that's coming in, and also to focus on key priorities for departments. Departments have more of a say in what's being processed and when, on the assumption that new is not becoming old.
The transition to the pay pod model took a considerable amount of time and effort, as well as investment in training and development, to make sure that we had the right leadership in the pods—the coaches, the trainers, and the supports for the staff, who were able to, through on-the-job training and coaching, as well as classroom training, grow their skill sets. This has reached the point where we have seen a decrease in the global queue of about 33% since January of 2018 when it peaked.
We are continuing to see incremental declines, as we demonstrated in the dashboard that was posted last week. Our service standards continue to fluctuate, but have been improving over the course of the three years. There's still a long way to go until we get to where we need to be—dealing with 95% of all transactions within 20 working days—but we are making significant progress. All of this is happening at the same time we are processing a significant number of collective agreements that the Treasury Board Secretariat has negotiated. Essentially, we've issued $1.9 billion in retroactive pay, which has required our staff not only to work in Phoenix, but also to go back into the old processing system, extract data, run calculations on retroactive pay, and then work through any remaining residual manual work that the system was not able to process.
We've also continued to invest in the system. We've added functionality that wasn't there in 2016. We have continued to work on process improvements. We're now in a place where we have regular and predictable technological releases, and we are able to test, which we had not been able to do in the past.