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IBM not being ruled out of the running for possible Phoenix replacement

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The company that set up the trouble-prone Phoenix payroll system is not being disqualified from securing the contract to create a new payroll system for federal employees, says Treasury Board President Jane Philpott.

In 2011, IBM was hired to implement, operate and maintain Phoenix, the federal public service pay system. Phoenix was launched in 2016 and has been plagued with glitches ever since, causing thousands of public servants to be improperly paid.

« At this point I’m not going to say who’s going to be in and who’s going to be out. We’re going to make sure that we pick the very best company, » Philpott said Monday.

The 2018 federal budget included $16 million over two years to fund the search for a payroll system to replace Phoenix.

Government officials have been talking to companies interested in landing the contract to design a new payroll and human resources system for federal employees since the process was launched in August of last year.

Canada’s Chief Information Officer Alex Benay says the federal government is aiming to finalize recommendations this spring to replace the Phoenix pay system. (Antoine Trépanier/Radio-Canada)

Canada’s Chief Information Officer Alex Benay, who is leading the search for a replacement system, would not hint today at which companies are still in the running, citing government procurement rules.

« We feel pretty comfortable with who’s there, » he said. « But the key is not who’s there as the vendors. It’s how we will chose to interact with those vendors to ensure we don’t repeat some of our mistakes. »

Like Philpott, Benay did not rule out the possibility that IBM could chosen for the contract.

Each competitor for the contract must satisfy multiple government criteria in order to be considered for the contract, Benay said. IBM’s past association with Phoenix does not disqualify it from the process, he added.

« Whoever is left in it will be treated the same way, because at this point what matters more is that we pay people. »

Benay said his team is aiming to have final recommendations for the government by this spring.

User feedback

As part of the second phase of the search for a replacement system, Benay and his team have been reaching out to public servants over the past month to hear what they would like to see in a new pay system.

Among the suggestions Benay said he’s heard is for a replacement system that allows federal government employees to have mobile access to their payroll files.

« Possibilities that exist with some of today’s solutions were not available in 2008, » when the search to replace Phoenix’s predecessor began, he said.

The Treasury Board has been holding ‘user expos’ throughout January and February to get public servants’ feedback on a potential new pay system. (Antoine Trépanier/Radio-Canada)

This week marks the end of the second of three phases of the federal process to find a Phoenix replacement.

Philpott was on hand at a « user expo » in Gatineau, Que. on Monday, where some possible replacement systems were displayed for public servants.

« We’re taking all of that feedback, looking at a whole range of pay systems out there to make sure we pick the very best one, » she said.

The Treasury Board is hosting three more user expos in the capital region this week, before the second phase closes. The third phase will whittle down the final recommendations, although Benay said the process could be extended if necessary.



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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