Ottawa

Overpaid by Phoenix, more than 98,000 public servants still owe money

More than 98,000 civil servants may still owe the federal government money after being overpaid through the disastrous Phoenix pay system.

Last year's federal budget promised millions to fix pay system

Some federal public servants were mistakenly overpaid by the Phoenix pay system, while others were underpaid and some went weeks or even months without any pay at all. (Antoine Trépanier/Radio-Canada)

More than 98,000 civil servants may still owe the federal government money after being overpaid through the disastrous Phoenix pay system.

The government revealed the estimate this week in a written response to a question from the Opposition Conservatives, but could not say how many of its employees are owed money, or how much.

Tens of thousands of federal workers have been impacted by problems that have plagued the electronic pay system since it was launched in early 2016 — some have been underpaid, some overpaid and others not paid at all, sometimes for months at a time.

And the problems persist, despite the hiring of hundreds of pay specialists to work through a backlog of system errors.

The public service pay centre was still dealing with a backlog of about 202,000 complaints as of Dec. 24, down from 214,000 pay transactions that went beyond normal workload in November.

In response to an order paper question from Conservative MP Kerry Diotte, Steven MacKinnon, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of public services, told the Commons that as of Dec. 5, an estimated 98,249 individuals potentially owed the government money as a result of an overpayment.

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