Unpaid Parks Canada staff getting so desperate they're borrowing money from parents
New federal pay system botches pay for more than 80,000 public servants
A new payroll system introduced by the federal government earlier this year has been so riddled with problems that it's forcing some Parks Canada staff to borrow money from their parents.
"I can't afford to pay gas, I can't afford to pay my insurance. I can't afford rent or food," said Scott Munro, who works at the Lake Louise campground in Banff National Park.
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Since the end of May, Munro and at least 30 other staff at the Lake Louise campground have either been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.
His coworker Natasha Olsoff said she's so short on cash right now that she "can't really even afford to buy groceries" and often relies on leftover food donated by people leaving the campground.
"I think a lot of us are taking a toll mentally, and our bank accounts are taking a toll. Our loans and our lines of credit are maxed," she said.
Fed's 'working around clock' to fix problem
The new system, called Phoenix, has botched the pay of more than 80,000 public servants.
Marie Lemay, deputy minister for Public Services and Procurement, said the government "did underestimate the training and the time that it would take for people to get used to the system."
She apologized during a news conference on Tuesday.
"This situation is completely unacceptable and we will be working around the clock to resolve these problems as quickly as possible."
But Olsoff said it's all too little, too late.
"They're violating the employment standards act of Alberta, B.C. — everywhere. All over Canada. And so, I'm just wondering how they are able to get away with that. There has to be money somewhere to pay your employees."
The government has offered employees affected by the pay glitch the option to take out a $5,000 interest free loan.
"Why should we have to do that?" said Olsoff.
"They should take out a loan, pay us, and then they should owe the banks."
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With files from the CBC's Natasha Frakes