Official warns more civil servants could see low pay or no pay

first_imgOTTAWA – Federal government managers were warned this week of a possible surge in emergency pay requests from civil servants over the holidays after new issues were discovered with the troubled Phoenix pay system.Managers were to receive lists of “low pay or no pay employees” by Friday, and were being encouraged to reach out to those who might need help.“We would encourage you to reach out to employees on this list to determine if an emergency salary advance (ESA) or priority payment may be required on December 27th, and if any special measures to provide the payment may be needed given the holiday season and related absences and travel,” said a memo from Les Linklater, an associate deputy minister at Public Works and Government Services Canada, made public Friday.The memo was issued Wednesday after problems were discovered in processing of pay requests for the final payday of the year, Dec. 27.Officials said some transactions entered into the pay system in early November weren’t processed, creating a new backlog of problem files.“The Phoenix pay system encountered technical and administrative issues with a module that affected performance of the system, in particular with a program in Phoenix that processes employee-submitted transactions,” Public Services and Procurement Canada said in a statement.“Some transactions entered in Phoenix as of November 1, such as overtime and timesheets, were not processed, which created an accumulation of transactions. This led to processing challenges for the December 27 pay run.”Public Services said the problem, which it blamed on both technical and human errors, had been resolved by Dec. 17, but some civil servants reported receiving pay stubs after that date that were short of what they were owed.The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents some 180,000 civil servants, said it sought and received assurances from the government that any employee facing year-end pay issues could request emergency funds.PSAC and other unions said they were also continuing to offer emergency pay services to their members.The auditor general last month reported more than 150,000 government workers — or about half the federal civil service — had been affected by the Phoenix fiasco that began nearly two years ago, either by being underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.The government has warned it could cost upwards of $1 billion to stabilize the pay system and fix it.Public Service Minister Carla Qualtrough predicted earlier this month that it could take until the end of 2018 or beyond to eliminate a backlog of problem pay files that had reached 335,000 as of Nov. 29.— Follow @tpedwell on Twitterlast_img read more

Quebecer among LGBTQ creators suing YouTube alleging discrimination

first_imgMONTREAL — A Canadian is among a group of LGBTQ content creators who have launched a class action lawsuit against YouTube in the United States, alleging the popular video-sharing website is censoring their content.The group of eight, which includes several prominent U.S. creators and Montreal-based transgender YouTuber Chase Ross, announced it is taking a stand against the video publisher and its parent company, Google, in a suit filed in California on Wednesday.In a statement, YouTube said it doesn’t target LGBTQ content. But Ross, the lone Canadian plaintiff for now, said the mere mention in videos of such words as “transgender,” “gay” and “lesbian” — or the use of those words in titles and tags — can get a video flagged as sensitive, restricting their views and curtailing advertising.“We are a group of LGBTQ creators that have had enough,” Ross said. “It has been affecting us for years and I’m so glad we’re going to be doing something about it, because after doing videos and talking with YouTube, nothing happened.”Ross recounted in an interview being particularly affected last year when an anniversary video about his surgery was flagged.“I’d had surgery five years ago. It’s a big moment in my transition. I was really excited, and the moment I added the word ‘transgender’ in the title, it was demonetized,” Ross explained. Demonetization renders a video unsuitable for advertisers.“I did two tests and it still happened the same way so I made a big deal about it online, I made a big fuss because people needed to know.”Ross said an algorithm makes the determination, and LGBTQ videos often find themselves flagged, even if there’s nothing inherently offensive or inappropriate in them.“There are a lot of videos that talk about LGBT content — there’s nothing sexual in the video — and it’s demonetized,” Ross said.In a statement, YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph said the company is proud that “so many LGBTQ creators have chosen YouTube as a place to share their stories and build community.”Joseph said all content on the site is subject to the same policies.“Our policies have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity and our systems do not restrict or demonetize videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like ‘gay’ or ‘transgender,’ ” Joseph said. “In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech, and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly.”Ross, who began using the platform when he was 15, said YouTube was a revolutionary in his own experience.“YouTube is where I found myself — it’s where I found out what trans people were. It’s where I found out that you can be trans and can live, and it’s okay to be trans,” said Ross, now 28.“It really saved my life so when I started making content. I started making content for the younger me, the content that didn’t exist, the information that I never had when I was younger.”He now has 164,000 subscribers and his videos can get 10,000 views or more.Ultimately, Ross doesn’t want to be censored, nor does he want to have to censor himself to get published.“YouTube really changes lives and it helps people that live in places where a queer or trans community doesn’t exist, so they’re not so alone,” Ross said. “When content gets demonetized or is deemed as inappropriate, people see that and they associate the LGBT community with things that aren’t appropriate.”What Ross is looking for is accountability from Google/YouTube.“More than anything, I want systemic change, I want there to be change in the platform, I want people to be treated equally on the platform,” Ross said.The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks an injunction requiring YouTube to “cease and desist from capriciously restricting, demonetizing, or otherwise censoring any content of videos uploaded to the YouTube site.” It is also seeking unspecified damages to be determined at trial.While the LGBTQ community is pushing the lawsuit, Ross said others like family bloggers and disabled people also face similar problems.“We are hoping that this is a stepping-stone to changing the system for everyone,” he said.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Presslast_img read more