Phoenix Causing Distress to Over 81,000 Federal Workers LTE July 20, 2016

Phoenix Causing Distress to Over 81,000 Federal Workers LTE July 20, 2016

81,000+ workers have missed paycheques, been underpaid, denied health benefits, and even had child support payments disappear – all thanks to the Government of Canada’s political and technological fumbling as it launched an untried, unmanageable pay system called PHOENIX.

Unlike its mythical namesake, this PHOENIX immediately crashed and burned in the flames that spawned it… and the authors and administrators of the disaster, at Public Works and Government Services, insist that it works.



If you or someone you know has been burned by this “PHOENIX”, drop us a line at



The following case, is one of a local retired Public Servant waiting months for a pension, and a final employment payout because (among other reasons), the government didn’t know he retired!!


Dear CFN Editor,


After 30 years of Public Service, the award of a certificate signed by The Prime Minister seemed a flattering gesture, but more than 2 months afterward, I was still waiting for the more gratifying gesture of pay; for my last 2 weeks of work; my vacation pay; and my pension… it was time to pick up the phone.



I was surprised when the agent that I reached at the pension centre informed me that there was no record of my retirement – apparently a written resignation, congratulations from the Prime Minister, and not showing up at my desk for 2 months had not caught anyone’s attention.

After wrangling over the phone for a couple of days, I’d had enough…

–       I informed the pension centre agent that I would be visiting the Wellington Street office of Prime Minister Trudeau to return the retirement certificate he signed, and ask him to explain his error.

–       I also suggested that the agent and the office manager would then likely have the opportunity to explain things to a Deputy Minister shortly afterwards.

–       Within that 72 hours my first pension payment was sent for deposit to my bank account.



Again, but not surprisingly, there was no record of my departure.

We got that ironed out after a couple of calls, but then…

–       I was told I had not reported my last 2 weeks of employment (disregarding that they made the pay system unavailable to anyone 2 weeks prior to my retirement, while PHOENIX was being rolled out)

–       I was told that to get paid, the onus was on me to talk to my last manager.

–       Thanks to modernization I was now submitting paper forms to my last manager who then “snail mailed” them away.

–       After 4 months the case of my near $15,000 wasn’t settled.

–       Repeated calls to the pay centre require up to 3 hours (50+ tries) to get through and are regularly dropped to a “busy signal” on the way.

–       Agents cannot call out, if your call is dropped, you start over

–       Agents do not have adequate information in one place (Name, PRI, Case Number, case tracking, actions taken… these are apparently not cross referenced or accessible in a useful way.


It’s ironic that this $300-$400 million dollar modernization was in case the working system had “A breakdown [with] wide and severe consequences [and] the Government could no longer conduct its business and deliver services to Canadians. ” – Report of the Auditor General, Spring 2010

Editor’s note:  We have protected to identity of this letter writer to protect them from any possible retaliation. 

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