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The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is launching a national television ad campaign to highlight the dedication of public service workers throughout the Phoenix pay system disaster, which has now been going on for two and a half years. Despite missed paycheques, fending off debt collectors, and managing endless uncertainty, PSAC members have continued to be here for Canada.

Plans to contract out cleaning services to private companies at Canadian Forces Bases (CFB) in Greenwood and Kingston have been shelved and the Department of National Defense (DND) has committed to creating a new process for future reviews. Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) National President June Winger and PSAC Regional Executive Vice-Presidents Colleen Coffey (Atlantic) and Sharon DeSousa (Ontario) were pleased to learn this morning that the workers who clean on those bases will not be losing their jobs.


Implementing employment equity involves some basic steps:

STEP 1: Workforce Analysis:

  • Organizations examine their workforce to see if it reflects the diversity in the labour market.
  • If the workforce’s make up does not reflect the external labour market, the organization must take steps to increase representation of the four designated groups. 

STEP 2: Employment Systems Review:

  • Organizations also examine their “employment systems” – policies and practices relating to hiring, promotion, training, career development, retention, etc – to determine if there are barriers in place and to then address those barriers

The report reminds the government that the consequences of the Phoenix implementation are significant and ongoing and that the hardships imposed are unacceptable. 

“We commend the patience of public servants, who continue to provide professional service despite anxieties over their pay. We also commend the hard work and dedication of the Public Service Pay Centre employees who are trying to resolve hundreds of thousands of pay problems as quickly as possible.”

The Committee voiced its dismay that Phoenix proceeded with minimal, independent oversight and that no one has accepted responsibility or been held to account for its failure.

Failing to meet deadlines

During this round of bargaining, the employer was expected to come to the table ready to negotiate with new classification standards and job descriptions for the PA group. The employer has failed to meet that obligation, which has led to the filing of the policy grievance.

PSAC’s long-standing objectives on classification reform continue to be:

  • replacement of the current, very outdated Treasury Board classification system;
  • development of job evaluation standards and job descriptions that reflect current work realities and that are pay equity compliant.

Now that collective bargaining has resumed we will be addressing this issue at the negotiation table in addition to enforcing the existing contract.

The call centre established in the wake of Phoenix had been staffed through a temporary staffing agency. These untrained employees worked from scripts, with no capacity to provide any meaningful information to our members in need of support. This only served to exacerbate the frustration of those dealing with pay problems.

As a result of pressure from PSAC, the government committed to moving this work from the contracted-out call centre to the federal public service, and we continued to hold the government to account until the new system was implemented.