Phoenix Falling

Phoenix stories continue to fill the CBC inbox

CBC Ottawa still receives Phoenix stories on an almost daily basis. Here are a few of the stories of how Phoenix is still affecting public servants across the country.

'I have to borrow money from my 88-year-old mother just to pay my rent next month'

Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurment Canada Marie Lemay listens to a question during a technical briefing on the Phoenix pay system on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Today was supposed to be the day 80,000 cases were solved.

Over the past six months we have heard stories from public servants who have suffered as a result of the Phoenix pay system — some have had their pay cut, some have been paid too much and some have gone weeks without any money deposited in their accounts.

In July, the government stated that any issues from employees who weren't paid properly that were backlogged before June 2016 would be processed by Oct. 31.

But on Oct. 19, Marie Lemay, the deputy minister in charge of the Phoenix file, said the government is "tracking a bit behind," with 30,000 out of more than 80,000 cases still unresolved.

Lemay said the "bulk" will be cleared in time but that some of the most complex cases — those requiring "time-consuming, manual calculations" — might not.

So, it appears today's deadline will come and go without all the cases being solved.

Meanwhile, Rosanna Di Paola, the department's associate assistant deputy minister of the accounting, banking and compensation branch, was shuffled into a new role as a special adviser.

CBC Ottawa continues to get stories from public servants who can't get paid what they are owed as a result of the new Phoenix software.

Here are some stories of people still suffering the consequences of Phoenix (some have been edited for length).

From a public servant with the Canadian Forces:

I am now on 11 weeks without pay, I don't even know where to go from there- Anonymous public servant

"I was off on stress/heart sick leave and the mess they have made of my pay is incredulous. They continued to pay me for 8 weeks, wouldn't release my Record of Employment so I could go on medical EI, finally stopped paying me and then, when I returned to work on Aug. 22, have not to this day re-instated me into the pay system, and have not paid me one thin dime.

"Talk about stressing people out. Now I have to borrow money from my 88-year-old mother just to pay my rent next month. They never should have released this system and let go of hundreds of years of pay system wisdom at the same time. How can Di Paola justify not paying employees who have come back off of sick leave?  It's not like we get full pay when we are off sick. This has nothing to do with acting, overtime etc....  Flat out lie . . . I am now on 11 weeks without pay, I don't even know where to go from there."

From a former employee of Correctional Service Canada:

"I worked from Feb. 8 to Aug 12, 2016. I am owed my overtime hours for the month of March, and when the new pay system was installed I only received 60% of my wage, I had to call and email on a weekly basis to get paid. I have received no pay stubs and have been dealing with a director in Ottawa since this all started.

"I quit working for the government on Aug. 12, 2016.  They still have no idea when I will get paid. I have many emails to confirm my story and feel that I have no other avenue left but to have someone help. [I am owed] about $2500 for overtime worked in March, and $5000 to $6000 from April 1 to Aug. 12. I honestly could not tell you as I have no pay stubs after April 1 and all they did was a direct deposit every few weeks when I asked for money and would not provide any pay stubs.  I have a lot of emails and documentation and peoples names that I tried to get help from, I am getting tired of it.  Will probably just hire a lawyer and see what happens."

I had to take a day off to collect bottles and cans for cash!!!- Correctional officer

From a public servant who returned to work after sick leave:

"I've been a correctional officer for over 20 years!! I was off on medical EI for four months. Your government has not gotten DI papers to my extended health plan since my departing work back in May. And since returning to work about 6 weeks ago, I have received only 5 days pay, at which time I had to take a day off to collect bottles and cans for cash!!!"

From a current employee of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, former employee of Environment Canada and National Defence:

"My story is not dissimilar to others. I'm a normal person. I have a young family. I have been a long term diligent and professional federal government employee. I am facing a formidable opponent that has caused me to be pushed to the brink of financial exhaustion. It is pushing my physical health where financial stress and uncertainty are at odds with day care bills and mortgage payments that continue to be debited.

"The problem is so much bigger then me as an individual. Do I have to completely surrender and risk a future for my children or is there fight left within to speak up? I grasp at thin wisps of hope that say October 31 will be the day that this is all forgotten. There are rumblings that it will not happen. As the call centre for Phoenix told me recently 'cross your fingers and toes' that there will be resolution, it seems I will have to put my confidence in luck as the signs are clear that my employer wants me to 'pay no attention to the man behind the green curtain' where compensation advisors are inaccessible at the Phoenix Pay Centre."