Some federal employees have been told to prepare for a major post-Christmas letdown: paycheques that are wildly incorrect and potentially void of any funds whatsoever.

Managers in the public service informed their teams by email this week that the problem-plagued Phoenix pay system was experiencing new issues, and their final paycheques of 2017 could have glaring errors. 

Those December pay stubs have already been put online, several days earlier than usual.

One worker official sent her stub to Radio-Canada. It indicated she would receive zero dollars on Dec. 27.

phoenix pay stub zero dollars

One Phoenix worker sent Radio-Canada her final pay stub for 2017, which shows that she would be erroneously receiving zero dollars. (Radio-Canada)

'Quite terrible'

"We find the whole [situation] to be quite terrible," said Stéphane Aubry, national vice-president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), whose 57,000 members make it the largest union in Canada representing publicly employed scientists and professionals.

Aubry said the union was informed last week of potential problems with the final 2017 paycheques, and he expected they would be corrected.

"The government should have more resources, should have found ways to resolve the situation." - Stéphane Aubry

He also said the union had a loan mechanism in place — in addition to the government's own financial assistance programs — but worried workers could have trouble accessing it over the holidays.

"[We're] getting close to Christmas time, getting close to two years living through the problem with Phoenix," Aubry said. 

"The government should have more resources, should have found ways to resolve the situation."

In an email, senior officials reminded federal employees that they can apply for an emergency pay advance "in the event of a $0 pay situation."

Steven MacKinnon, parliamentary secretary to the minister of public services and procurement, also told Radio-Canada that the government had put measures in place to respond quickly to holiday pay issues.