Sen. Percy Mockler, centre, chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, sits with deputy chairs Sen. Mobina Jaffer, left, and Sen. Andre Pratte, of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, listen to questions during a press conference on their report on the Phoenix pay system, in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Sen. Percy Mockler, centre, chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, sits with deputy chairs Sen. Mobina Jaffer, left, and Sen. Andre Pratte, of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, listen to questions during a press conference on their report on the Phoenix pay system, in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Report says Phoenix pay advisers not being trained adequately

Costs are on track to hit $2.2 billion within the next five years

A new report says federal pay advisers have not been trained adequately, furthering the likelihood that fixing the failed Phoenix pay system will take years and cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

The report, from the Senate finance committee, warns those costs are on track to hit $2.2 billion within the next five years.

The committee blames the Phoenix debacle on a systemic cultural problem within government where senior civil servants play down bad news and avoid responsibility.

The report notes that not a single person has been held to account for tens of thousands of civil servants being overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all since the Phoenix system was launched more than two years ago.

Among its five key recommendations, the committee is calling on the Trudeau government to set targets for processing outstanding pay requests, which currently number around 577,000.

It also urges the government to do more to help employees facing financial distress.

The Canadian Press

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