Phoenix – A PIPSC Timeline

February 28, 2016 The federal government rolls out its new Phoenix pay system for employees in 34 departments. A further 67 departments are scheduled to join in April. The system, contracted to IBM in 2011, bypasses input and IT expertise from PIPSC CS Group members who built the previous pay system used for 40 years.
April 15, 2016 After numerous reports of problems with employee pay, PIPSC and other unions call on the government to delay the second rollout.
June 3, 2016 PIPSC President Debi Daviau meets with Treasury Board President Scott Brison to urge timely fixes to members’ Phoenix pay problems.
June 11, 2016  PIPSC releases Programmed to Fail, a report on the impact of outsourcing in the federal government. The report leads to greater scrutiny of the IBM Phoenix contract.
June 14, 2016 PIPSC launches a loans program for members facing financial hardship due to Phoenix.
July 28, 2016 PIPSC President Debi Daviau attends an Emergency Committee meeting on Parliament Hill to demand emergency pay be processed faster and ask how Phoenix was approved without adequate testing.
August 4, 2016 PIPSC offers assistance to summer students affected by Phoenix.
August 18, 2016

 PIPSC members join in a protest against Phoenix outside then-Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote’s office in St. John’s. The next day, PIPSC’s President meets again with Minister Foote to urge that individual departments be empowered to expedite emergency pay.

September 15, 2016 After pressure from PIPSC and other unions, Treasury Board opens a claims office for public servants seeking reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses due to Phoenix.
October 31, 2016 PIPSC and other unions mark Halloween – the date Phoenix was to be fixed – by holding a “Haunted by Phoenix” rally to keep members’ concerns in the news.
January 12, 2017

PIPSC President Debi Daviau holds a press conference calling for a separate, parallel pay system to better address the ongoing hardships of PIPSC members. (Two weeks later, on January 26, Treasury Board issues a memo encouraging deputy heads of departments to exercise greater discretionary power to support those facing financial hardship.)

February 23, 2017 PIPSC and other public service unions mark the first anniversary of the Phoenix pay system by urging the government to add a $75-million contingency fund to the upcoming budget. PIPSC members join in a day of social media action urging the government to “#Fix Phoenix.” (On April 27, the government announces it will reallocate $140 million to fix Phoenix.)
May 5, 2017 PIPSC files the first of several policy grievances, claiming the Employer has “made continuous and on-going errors in pay,” and that problems paying disability benefits and parental leave benefits are violations of the Canadian Human Rights Act. (Failure to process retroactive pay triggers additional policy grievances in 2017.)
June 29, 2017

PIPSC President Debi Daviau meets with the Working Group of Ministers responsible for fixing Phoenix and proposes the government train 30-40 key members of PIPSC’s CS Group to seek Phoenix solutions.

September 26, 2017 Federal public service unions press the government to pay damages caused by Phoenix.
September 29, 2017 PIPSC President Debi Daviau writes to Treasury Board President Scott Brison, urging him to dedicate more resources to correct the impact on retirees.
November 14, 2017  PIPSC President Debi Daviau and Vice-President Stéphane Aubry hold a press conference calling on the federal government to build a new pay system relying on the government’s own IT professionals. An online survey of PIPSC members confirms 87% do not believe Phoenix can be fixed. The government later states it is looking for alternatives to Phoenix.
November 15, 2017 PIPSC launches an online action encouraging members to email the Working Group of Ministers and urge them “to build a new pay system that works, using the in-house expertise of our own computer systems professionals.”
January 30, 2018

PIPSC President Debi Daviau writes to Treasury Board President Scott Brison to protest news the government won’t meet its deadline to correct the T4 slips of employees overpaid due to Phoenix. The government committed to correct the slips if employees reported their overpayments by January 19, allowing those employees to repay only the net as opposed to the gross amount owed. The government subsequently announces it will adopt a “flexible and respectful approach to managing the recovery of overpayments”.

February 16, 2018 PIPSC and other public service unions issue a plea that the government work with federal employees to build a payroll system that works “accurately and on time – every time.”
February 27, 2018

The federal budget commits $16 million towards finding an alternative pay system to replace Phoenix.

February 28, 2018 On the second anniversary of Phoenix, public service employees rally in Ottawa with a call to “Nix Phoenix” and build an alternative pay system. PIPSC Lunch and Learn training sessions begin and by early April, over 100 members across Canada are recruited and trained to engage colleagues in the Nix Phoenix Campaign.
March 28, 2018

PIPSC releases the results of a member survey showing 67% can’t be sure their retro pay is correct. A further 9% indicatethey have not yet received their retro pay.

April 3, 2018 Members of PIPSC’s AFS Group National Executive propose that the Canada Revenue Agency’s corporate administrative system (CAS) be adopted more broadly, arguing it would greatly reduce errors and the time required to adapt a new pay system to the public service.
April 17, 2018 President Debi Daviau hosts a town hall, outlining PIPSC’s campaign to help members get the support they need now to fix their pay issues and drive development of an alternative pay system.