PRESS RELEASE: NDP Forces Debate on Phoenix Pay Fiasco, MP Garrison Brings Personal Stories From Capital Region To Ottawa

OTTAWA, ON – Canada’s NDP forced a debate in the House of Commons yesterday to acknowledge that the Liberal government committed a gross error in judgement when it operationalized the previous Conservative government’s Phoenix pay system.

In an impassioned plea for action, MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) brought personal stories of effected public servants from Sooke, Saanich, Colwood, and Esquimalt to the House of Common debate. Garrison has been raising the plight of the over 1,000 federal government workers in his riding that are facing Phoenix pay issues at every chance he can get.

“My office has been inundated with heart wrenching stories from federal employees in my community whose lives have been turned upside-down because of the Phoenix pay system implemented by the federal Liberal government,” said MP Garrison in yesterday’s debate in the House of Commons. “This is having impacts on real people in every community in my riding.”

The NDP motion called on the government to compensate those in the public service who have experienced damages from Phoenix, both financial and otherwise, and publicly apologize to all of those who have endured hardship as a result of the government's error.

“Many who have been effected have fallen behind in their rent or mortgage payments, some have even had to quit because they couldn’t continue to pay the bills while not being paid. Others have had to pull their kids out of post-secondary education programs because they could no longer afford the tuition fees,” said MP Garrison. “It is clear that we are losing the talent and experience of many who aren’t able or prepared to survive the financial crises imposed on them by the Phoenix pay system.” 

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 system was supposed to save taxpayers $70 million per year. Instead, the government is now looking at a bill of close to one billion dollars just to correct errors in the system, while tens of thousands of Canadians are still being underpaid, overpaid, or not payed at all.

MP Garrison’s Feb 26, 2018 House of Commons statement and the full wording of the NDP motion available here: