OTTAWA – As thousands of public servants continue to face Phoenix-related payroll headaches—something this government admits is unacceptable—a new survey shows that Canadians think a replacement system should be provided faster than is currently projected.

According to a survey commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) which represents 55,000 federal public servants and conducted by Environics Research, 46 per cent of Canadians surveyed said that six months is a “reasonable time to wait” for a replacement to the Phoenix pay system.

The telephone survey, conducted in early July found that another 30 per cent would consider a wait longer than one year to be unreasonable, while 12 per cent say two years is a reasonable wait.

As first announced by the federal government as part of the 2018-19 budget, the search is on for a new pay system. Using the $16 million earmarked to be spent over the next two years for the hunt, the Treasury Board has launched a process to solicit pitches for Phoenix’s replacement, in conjunction with the unions, experts, and tech companies.

There is no timetable attached to replacing the Phoenix pay system, or even testing alternatives at this point, and PIPSC argues that this survey shows that Canadians expect public servants will have a new, properly functioning pay system within the next two years.

“Now that the government has committed to finding an alternative, it needs to speed up implementation of those alternatives. Our members can’t wait another two years,” said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. She wants to see alternatives tested as soon as possible.

The Phoenix pay system launched over two years ago and likely over $1 billion will be going into getting it functioning the way it was initially intended. Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough is stickhandling the efforts to fix the system, and work through backlog of public servants with outstanding pay troubles.

Not long after Phoenix’s problematic rollout critics were quick to say the system was implemented too fast, before it was fully ready or tested.

The survey of 1,000 Canadians is considered accurate ± 3.2%, 19 times out of 20.