Millions in late fees

News 7 February, 2018
  • Photo Boris Proulx
    If Ottawa was a consumer, he would need tips to avoid paying unnecessary charges on its invoices for cellular.

    Guillaume St-Pierre

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 01:00

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 01:00

    Look at this article

    OTTAWA | The federal government has paid out more than $ 4.7 million in late fees for telephony services for the past six years, simply because it is unable to pay its bills on time.

    “Payment delays are largely attributable to the volume of monthly bills and the time required to perform the appropriate control and correct possible errors before making payments,” says Frédérica Dupuis, a spokesperson for shared Services Canada, the department responsible.

    The federal government has created the department of shared Services in 2011 to prevent this kind of failures related to the computer. Six years later, despite an improvement, the waste persists in the area of invoice processing to cellular.

    Mountain of bills

    Thus, only for the year 2017, the payment delays have cost canadian taxpayers no less than $ 330,000, ” 0.02 % of the total sum of invoices “, takes care to stress a spokesperson for shared Services Canada.

    At its inception, six years ago, shared Services Canada (SSC) treated each month by some 75 000 bills for various telephone services.

    The number was reduced to 9000. But of the thirty or so officials responsible for pay all bills of the ministry are clearly overwhelmed, so that the late fees continue to accumulate.

    “Shared Services Canada continues to consolidate the accounts and to accelerate the disbursement of payments, defends it. Since 2011, we have reduced the number of invoices processed on a monthly basis 88 %. “

    The federal government has spent approximately $ 7.3 billion since 2012 for its telecommunications services, such as packages of cell.

    Other fees

    The approximately 4.7 million paid in late fees by SSC for the past six years, are only the minimum of the scale of the public service, because many small agencies manage their own bills of cell.

    Despite their small size, delays arise here too, for different reasons, according to documents made public recently by the House of commons.

    “The invoice has been lost and has been paid as soon found it,” explains candidly in its documents the canadian human rights Commission the person to a late fee of 15,11 $, in may 2017.

    The canadian Service support for the administrative courts, which has approximately 540 employees, was charged 832 $ to taxpayers in late fees from September 2016 to December 2017, and this without providing a reason.

    9000 invoices of telephone per month

    30 servants can’t afford to pay

    $7.3 billion in telecom for 2012

    The money that is thrown out the window

    More than two years after their election, the liberals blame the former conservative government for the inability of the federal government to process the bills of cell time, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in late fees.

    “Ideally, of course, we wouldn’t have to pay these fees. But the reality is that the former government had not hired enough staff to shared Services Canada, ” says minister of public Services and procurement, Carla Qualtrough.

    Photo By Christopher Nardi

    Carla Qualtrough

    Not spared

    Shared Services Canada (SSC) was launched by the Harper government in 2011 to manage the computer systems of more than 40 departments and federal agencies. A huge task.

    As the whole of the public service, the psc has not been spared by the cuts under the former Harper government. The liberals have injected 384 million in new money to SPC since their arrival to power. Ms. Qualtrough admits that his government will have to do even more.

    “You can’t expect that SSC is capable of fulfilling its mandate if it does not give him the necessary resources, she said. The department has been badly designed and under-funded from the start. “

    The conservative Alain Rayes called the Trudeau government to assume its responsibilities. “It’s been more than two years they are in power, iI would be a great time as they realize and begin to act accordingly,” argues the mp in quebec.

    The taxpayer who pays

    The new democrat Pierre-Luc Dusseault regrets his side “that, in the end, it is the taxpayer who pays more for services that should not cost as expensive” because of this waste of public funds.

    An opinion shared by Carl Vallée, the quebec director of the canadian taxpayers Federation (FCC), which requires “greater discipline” in the management of public finances.

    Photo Courtesy

    Carl Valley
    Taxpayers federation

    “This is taxpayers’ money that we throw away literally by the window, plague the former press secretary to Stephen Harper. It takes years for the average taxpayer to win 330 000 $, and yet our public servants have no problem in handing that amount to the big companies of telecommunications, in return for absolutely nothing. “