Phoenix fiasco: Public servants deserve compensation and an apology

OTTAWA – To mark the second anniversary of the government’s reckless implementation of the Phoenix payroll system; the NDP is calling on Minister Carla Qualtrough to do more than just say sorry through the media. It is time the government has the courage to act by compensating all those who have experienced hardships caused by the Phoenix system-including employees of the Miramichi pay centre. To that end, the NDP has tabled a motion calling on the government to apologize to public servants and offer compensation.

“Thousands of public servants are living with the financial stress of not being paid correctly. They don’t know if they’ll be able to pay their bills, or if they’ll be forced to borrow against their credit cards,” said Karine Trudel, the NDP Labour Critic. “The Liberals must admit they committed an error in judgment, they should offer compensation to all those affected, as well as a public apology in the House of Commons.”

Before the Phoenix system was operationalized in February 2016, the Liberal government ignored the red flags raised by both unions and departmental staff, who called on them to postpone implementing the new pay system. Since ignoring their advice, more than half of Canada’s public service employees have been facing persistent pay problems. The Liberals promised to correct the Phoenix fiasco by the end of October 2016, but two years later, the problems are growing exponentially.

“This system was supposed to save taxpayers $70 million per year. We are now looking at a bill of close to one billion dollars just to correct errors in the system, and we are still not out of the woods,” said Peter Julian, the NDP Finance Critic. “It’s a very sad anniversary, and the best thing the government could do to mark this day is to compensate public service employees who were affected by its bad decisions and apologize for the unnecessary distress they have caused.”    

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