NDP Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: Fix public service pay system now

The Right Honourable Justin P.J. Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada

House of Commons Ottawa, Ont. K1A0A6

July 4th, 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

We write today to urge you to take immediate action to ensure public service workers receive the pay that they have earned.

Surely you agree that the timely payment of public sector employees is critical to the delivery of vital public services and the proper function of government. Yet we are concerned that your government did not heed early warnings when the problems with the new Phoenix pay system first presented themselves in the spring, leaving many federal employees underpaid or not paid at all.

While we welcome the recent announcement by Minister Foote that extra personnel will be hired to try to deal with the myriad of problems created by the new Phoenix pay system, we believe that this measure does not sufficiently address the scope and breadth of the complications experienced by affected public service workers.

Your government made a firm commitment to build a more respectful relationship with the public service. Unfortunately, when public service workers are not paid, it creates havoc and hardship for them and for their families and inevitably reduces the overall quality of service to the public.

As this unacceptable situation persists, federal employees are faced with the very real problem of mounting bills and mortgage payments that cannot be missed. Other glitches have meant some retirees are unable to access their benefits. Meanwhile the malfunctions with the Phoenix pay system have disproportionally impacted vulnerable workers including students, casual employees and other irregular workers.

Now Canada’s federal unions are beginning court action to compel the government to implement a system that meets its legal obligations to pay its employees.

If a large private corporation were experiencing similar payment problems, you can be sure Canadians would demand their Prime Minister step in and force that corporation to honour its commitments and pay its workers.For months, New Democrats have been raising the issue with both the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the President of the Treasury Board, during Question Period and in the Committee on Government Operations.

We call on you and your government to act immediately to rectify the problems faced by thousands of federal workers all across the country and provide a clear time line of when the various issues with the payment system will be resolved. Finally we ask that your government demonstrate the measures it is taking to ensure that in the future all public service workers are paid accurately and on time.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Erin Weir, Member of Parliament for Regina-Lewvan NDP Critic for Public Services and Procurement

Sheri Benson, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon West NDP Critic for Labour

Wayne Stetski, Member of Parliament for Kootenay – Columbia NDP Critic for National Parks