Ottawa·Phoenix Falling

Cancer survivor unpaid since return to work

CBC Ottawa asked for stories from federal public servants who aren't getting paid properly — either too little, too much or not at all — since the Phoenix payroll system took over the distribution of their paycheques.

Cecilia Delfino learned she had an aggressive form of breast cancer 2 years ago


  • After this story was posted, Delfino received a cheque for 60% of her salary.
  • The cheque was sent to her by taxi.

CBC Ottawa has invited federal public servants to share their personal stories of financial struggle under the government's problem-plagued Phoenix payroll system.

Some aren't being paid properly. Some have been overpaid. Some, not at all. 

If you want to add your story to our coverage please email us.

Every day for the next few weeks, we'll post an excerpt from a different employee.

Cecilia Delfino on her Phoenix pay woes

8 years ago
Duration 0:30
This federal public servant hasn't been paid since she returned to work at the end of May after two years of cancer treatments.

From Cecilia Delfino, a public servant with Global Affairs Canada who hasn't been paid since returning from cancer treatment in May.

Two years ago I was a vibrant, healthy mother of four who dreamed of some day becoming a yoga teacher.

Until I heard the three words that changed my life forever: "You have cancer".

Two years of aggressive breast cancer treatment transformed and shaped me into a new person.

I have been a cancer patient, and then a survivor.

When I returned to work on May 31 I knew I had to face some challenges but never imagined to be caught in this administrative nightmare.

It is not about the Phoenix only. It's also a series of errors, HR missing info, miscommunication, and management not getting involved because they have "priorities," and it seems that having employees in the bottom line not being paid is not enough to get their attention.

I am not a casual, a term, a student. I have served the Canadian federal government since 2006.

I am a mom, spouse, a proud public servant, and now a breast cancer survivor.

After facing cancer, and still dealing with the consequences of living with a chronic illness, I don't need the stress of not getting paid at all, still waiting for an emergency salary, not being able to pay any bills, and furthermore, taking everyone else's job responsibilities to move my file forward and make the miracle happen.