OTTAWA - The federal government says it will likely miss a self-imposed Oct. 31 deadline for eliminating a backlog of problems with its new employee pay system.

Marie Lemay, deputy minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, the department overseeing efforts to fix the Phoenix payroll system, says officials are still aiming for the deadline.

She says pay system employees have closed 12,824 more files since her last update earlier this month.

That has resulted in a reduction in the overall backlog by over 51,000 cases, or more than 60 per cent of the original number in the system as of July 1.

But as the department works to fix thousands of problem files, the cases are becoming more complicated, said Lemay.

As well, old files are being uncovered that require further investigation, she added.