Ottawa·Phoenix Falling

Public servant not getting any health or dental benefits

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.

'I essentially fell through the cracks,' public servant says

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.

From an anonymous public servant:

It's not just salary… I was hired at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in January 2016 on a two year term, and I still have not been signed up for health and dental benefits yet.

For a term of that duration, I was supposed to be eligible for health one month after hire, and for dental three months after hire. I've been trying to move things forward since I was hired.

In my last interaction with the Pay Centre, I was told that my case would be flagged and accelerated. More than a month later, I still haven't heard back. The last time I tried to contact them I got the same busy signal that many others have reported.

I essentially fell through the cracks and was not given the option to auto-enroll for health benefits through the Phoenix web interface.

For dental, it was supposed to be activated automatically, but wasn't. In both cases, I was told that this was because I was hired in the transition period when they moved over to Phoenix, and some "automatic" features were not activated (and apparently no one bothered to check, both in my department and on the Pay Centre's side).

Understandably, with three children, I need to start making the claims for the expenses I've incurred in the last six months.

On top of that, my wife can't make claims for our children on her insurance, because having my birthday first in the year, I have to claim through mine first.

Because of this, we're waiting to fill a prescription for an expensive medication for my daughter, and have been putting off paying for a private speech language pathologist for my son, who was diagnosed with a language deficiency (we are on the waiting list for publicly funded access).

Some other expenses (dentist, eye glasses, prescriptions), we've had to bank on the fact that we will eventually have coverage (assuming we don't lapse the time period between the date of the expenses and the time the claim was made).