Ottawa·Phoenix Falling

1 year later and Phoenix problems persist

The government of Canada launched the IBM Phoenix pay system on Feb. 24, 2016 and since then thousands of public servants have been overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all. And one year later the problems persist.

Employees dipping into savings, looking for new jobs

(CBC)

The government of Canada launched the IBM Phoenix pay system on Feb. 24, 2016 and since then thousands of public servants have been overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all. And one year later the problems persist.

CBC News continues to receive stories of hardship on an almost daily basis including cases dating back to spring of last year.

An employee from Service Canada in Edmonton, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from her manager, said she is currently seeking other employment because she hasn't been paid properly since April 2016.

This employee has been paid the wrong salary since she switched departments last year, about $20,000 less than her annual salary.

Her current budget is based on her actual salary and she says it is impossible for her to continue living on less money.

"As the months go by, it accumulates, right. So, I've used up my savings … I've cashed in some investments that I've had."

Moreover, she has no dental benefits and has been unable to claim about $10,000 in overtime.

I'm coming down to the wire in terms of using up all my financial resources.- Service Canada employee

"I can't even plan anything. I don't know if I have enough to last me the time that it's going to take to get this resolved. That is part of the issue. If I had known, OK give us six months, then I could have planned for it."

And, that has left her looking for a new job so she doesn't have to sell her house.

"Because of this, it is forcing me to look elsewhere … If I'm not getting paid for it and I'm coming down to the wire in terms of using up all my financial resources, I have no other choice."

'Stuck in the backlog'

Erin Thornton, who works for Service Canada in Gatineau, Que., first noticed pay problems in January 2016 which continued after Phoenix was implemented. 

Thornton said small amounts of money have been missing from her pay over the past year — ranging from $75 to a few pennies. She doesn't even know what her pay should be and she can't even talk to someone about it.

On May 25, 2016, she filed a pay action request with the Phoenix pay centre but since then nothing has changed. 

Thornton said her situation is minor compared to other people but she is frustrated that she is "stuck in the backlog."

This week, Thornton contacted the pay centre to check on the status of her file. She said the call centre told her the file from last May has been received but no one has looked at it yet.

"Something's not jiving and I can't even get anybody to look at it."

Judy Foote, the minister responsible for Phoenix, issued a statement on Thursday that said "resolving the ongoing public service pay problems is our priority. We are working tirelessly to ensure that any pay issues are resolved as quickly as possible."

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