The Nightmare – Phoenix does even more damage

In 2016, the then Conservative Government tried to make a difference by introducing the Phoenix Pay System. However, it was the Liberals put us in an uncomfortable position by implementing it. It all started four years ago, and no one seems to want to manage this crisis. On the contrary, a Radio-Canada (SRC) piece published on January 15, 2020 indicates:

74% of respondents (about 134,060) said their pay was affected by Phoenix, up 4% from 2018 (70%, or about 113,100 respondents), according to Treasury Board Secretariat’s Public Service Employee Survey (PSES).

Fact: We receive one or more e-mails per day on Phoenix-related issues. When pay week comes around, we receive three to seven e-mails per day concerning problems related to amounts received or not received.

What most surprises and shocks me with these statistics is that I see no improvement. People are making sacrifices, and you can see from the survey that close to 50 per cent refused to apply for, or accept, promotions, saying to themselves, “If I have to change something else in my pay record, I will be even more affected (or will start having problems with Phoenix)”. — Magali Picard, PSAC National Executive Vice-President in the SRC article

The majority of our members being public servants, this pay system was forced on them. About 8,000 of our members are affected. The government does not seem to understand the extent of the mental anguish Phoenix has caused Canadian public servants and the repercussions it has had on those around them.

Emotions expressed in communications from our members include frustration and even panic.

“They are utterly overwhelmed,” says Sandra Debelle, UCTE Membership and Administrative Coordinator. “Our members are afraid of losing their homes, cars and other possessions.”

PSAC recently released the results of a survey confirming the nightmarish, devastating impact of Phoenix. Our members can’t take it anymore. PSAC President Chris Aylward says:

“These numbers are staggering, year after year. The Government needs to invest in staffing to reduce the number of cases created each day and to eliminate the backlog of some 202,000 cases. But just as importantly, the Government must put aside its meagre offer and agree to compensate each and every worker equally for the wrongs caused by Phoenix.”

We encourage you to listen to and share the stories of some Public Service employees.

If you are one of those affected by the Phoenix Payroll System, here are some links that might help you:

Have you been affected by Phoenix?

Everyone has the right to be paid on time and correctly


In short, we want solutions and we want them now. We want our members to work in a healthy, safe and stress-free environment.

Share this article widely to put pressure on the government. We need to send a message that ‘enough is enough’ and that this nightmare must end.

Union of Canadian Transportation Employees

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