Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Phoenix, then Canada Vie, civil servants on edge

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Jean-Philippe Dumas has been trying to resolve a pay problem linked to the Phénix system for over a year. He considers that this delay is not normal.

  • Estelle Côté-Sroka (View profile)Estelle Côté-Sroka

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The persistent problems with the Phoenix pay system, combined with those linked to the arrival of the new insurer of federal civil servants, Canada Life, are pushing employees to leave their jobs or to seriously consider it, a situation which concerns the Alliance of the Public Service of Canada (PSAC).

Everything is extremely complicated with these two mammothswhich have been modified in recent years, summarizes Jean-Philippe Dumas, an electrician who has worked for National Defense since 2015.

Since January 2023, he trying to resolve a pay problem. Several deductions are no longer made from his salary, such as that for disability insurance.

Jean-Philippe Dumas estimates that he owes around $4,000 to his employer. But it's maybe more, maybe less, I can't calculate it perfectly because even the pay system doesn't know how much I'm paid, he explains.

It's especially exhausting.

A quote from Jean-Philippe Dumas, federal civil servant

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ELSE ON INFO: Quebec state lawyers denounce political pressure< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Jean-Philippe Dumas documents his problems assiduously. He carries out close follow-ups, but his file has not yet been taken care of by the government pay center.

Mr. Dumas says he is desperate and disgusted, because this is not the first time he has experienced such problems. And his wife, also a federal civil servant, is in the same boat.

According to the latest available data, there are currently 430,000 problematic pay transactions waiting for treatment, half of them for more than a year.

Since July, the couple has also had to deal with medication reimbursement problems linked to the arrival of the new administrator of the federal civil servants' insurance plan, Canada Life. It's all a question of deadlines with Canada Life, let's say that customer service is a little poor, relates Mr. Dumas.

Canada Life is like another nail in the coffin.

A quote from Jean-Philippe Dumas, federal civil servant

Jean-Philippe Dumas has two children, including a five-year-old son who suffers from cystic fibrosis. He needs several medications, including one that costs thousands of dollars. Mr. Dumas fears that one day, delays with Canada Life will prevent him from administering them to his son on time.

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Suffering from cystic fibrosis, Jean-Philippe's son Dumas has to take many medications every day.

Jean-Philippe Dumas confides that the pay system, in addition to insurance problems, is a little demotivating.

At the moment, it I'm not really tempted to work for [the government] anymore. The civil servant does not hesitate to mention that he is seriously considering his professional future.

I don't really feel respected by the federal government.

A quote from Jean-Philippe Dumas, federal civil servant

Jean-Philippe Dumas deplores that the government has removed the human side of its public service. He would really like to be able to speak to a compensation officer to put an end to his pay problems. Over time, it came to weigh on me, said the official.

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Jean-Philippe Dumas enjoys his job as an electrician for National Defense. However, his motivation is affected by the problems he is experiencing with the Phénix pay system and the insurance provider, Canada Life.

That's why he decided to take unpaid leave to explore other avenues. I’m trying another employer and so far, I’m having a lot more fun,” he says. Plus, in his new job, problems — if there are any — are resolved in person.

The failures of the pay system and the new insurance administrator constitute a problem for staff retention [and] for the hiring of new employees, observes the PSAC regional executive vice-president for Quebec, Yvon Barrière.

The unionist reports that several civil servants told him they left their jobs in the federal government for these reasons. He deplores that the government does not take these issues seriously.

For an employer, this situation should be worrying, analyzes Jacques Forest, psychologist and full professor at the School of Management Sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM).

Author of a book on motivation at work, Mr. Forest notes that the injustice felt at work — like that of not not being paid properly — is a demotivator.

A vector of injustice that persists can lead people to want to leave [a job] to seek an environment where justice would reign.

A quote by Jacques Forest, psychologist and full professor at the School of Management Sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal

It's like air conditioning: when you walk into a room and you're comfortable, you don't think about it, but if it's too hot or too cold, you're constantly going to think about it [and] these are things that constantly lead to rumination, to thinking about it, which can lead people to want to leave such an environment, explains Mr. Forest.

The human resources management specialist believes that it is very positive that civil servants are denouncing these failures. However, he says, if everyone expresses themselves on the same elements and nothing is done, that's where it can create wear and tear.

To regain the trust of his employees, the UQAM professor believes that the government has no other choice but to put an end to the problems relating to pay and insurance systems.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The office of the President of the Treasury Board, Anita Anand, assures that public servants deserve a reliable pay system, as well as adequate access to an insurance plan.

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Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board of Canada (Archive photo)

By email, the minister's press secretary, Ronny Al -Nosir, indicates that the government continues to work daily to improve the health care plan for public servants, stabilize current pay operations and work on the implementation of a new pay system.

Our objective remains to ensure that the provision of services, both in terms of payroll and health care, meets the expectations of public service employees.

A quote from Ronny Al-Nosir, press officer of the President of the Treasury Board

The minister's office also emphasizes that processing times for reimbursement requests from Canada Life have improved in the last few months.

  • Estelle Côté- Sroka (View profile)Estelle Côté-SrokaFollow

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