Administrative Issues

Phoenix Pay System

  • National Defence is working with Public Services and Procurement Canada to ensure that civilian employees are paid promptly and appropriately.
  • National Defence has taken steps to improve our response to phoenix pay issues impacting our civilian employees, including:
    • Increasing departmental capacity within the compensation team.
    • Establishing a virtual call centre to resolve pay and technical issues.
    • Issuing salary advances.
  • Since April 1, 2018, our investments have steadily reduced the backlog of Phoenix related cases by 48% resolving 37,533 cases.
  • We remain fully engaged to ensure all civilian employees receive their correct pay in a timely manner.

Key Facts

  • Increased departmental capacity within the compensation team to a planned 320 Full Time Employees by March 2020.
  • Launched a compensation team to specifically address new pay transactions, preventing new pay cases.
  • 231 Emergency Salary Advance payments, totaling $352,855, were issued to new employees.
  • 198 Priority Payments, totalling $1,245,440, were issued to employees not receiving their full regular pay.
  • 20,554 National Defence employees remain affected by Phoenix-related issues.


  • To mitigate growing pay issues, National Defence is increasing capacity within the departmental compensation team to approximately 320 positions by March 31, 2020. This constitutes an additional investment of $10 million in the Compensation Team in 2019-2020.
  • Assistance on compensation related issues is being provided across Canada to members of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. In July 2019, National Defence allocated 67 compensation positions to 14 bases and wings. Additionally, National Defence created Mobile Compensation Advisor in-Person Kiosks that travelled to all bases and wings in 2019/2020. There are plans to expand these tailored kiosks in 2020/2021.
  • National Defence established a Virtual Human Resources Contact Center in June 2019 to support employees and managers on all HR questions and issues. 90% of the calls received are compensation related.
  • National Defence is providing financial support to those affected by Phoenix:
    • 231 Emergency Salary Advance payments, totaling $352,855, were issued to new employees and employees returning from leave without pay. These payments provide an advance until their pay file is brought up to date.
    • 198 Priority Payments totalling $1,245,440 were issued to employees who are already on the payroll but have not received the full amount of their regular pay.
  • To prevent the increase of new pay cases caused by Phoenix, National Defence launched a compensation POD in May 2019, to target and resolve new pay transactions, preventing an further backlog.  
  • Training is being provided to all employees and managers on the Phoenix pay system. Additionally weekly communications regarding pay system reminders, training, and required actions are provided to managers and employees through Defence Today News.
  • National Defence has created digital support tools to facilitate Human Resource transactions and to track and escalate pay.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 – Source: QP Note and CoW note on Phoenix Pay System Problems Impacting National Defence Employees

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Access to Information

  • This Government is committed to openness and transparency.
  • Compliance with the Access to Information and Privacy Acts is a key component of our commitment to share information with the public and the press.
  • This is why National Defence has increased the number of staff currently processing requests so we can respond more quickly.
  • We are also working closely with the Information Commissioner to improve National Defence’s processes through training and greater oversight.
  • These changes are achieving real results in sharing information with the public and press.
  • Despite an increased volume of requests in 2018-19, National Defence closed 29% more requests compared to previous years. 
  • We will continue to improve our processes to ensure we meet our obligations as prescribed by the Access to Information and the Privacy Acts.

If pressed on the Office of the Information Commissioner investigation into National Defence:

  • National Defence is fully collaborating with the Office of the Information Commissioner.
  • We are fully committed to continue to improve our compliance.

Key Facts

  • Since 2011-2012, National Defence has ranked among the top five departments for highest volume of access to information requests received.
  • National Defence received 16% more requests in 2018-2019, compared to the previous year.
    • 61% of the requests in 2018-19 were closed within the required timeframes last year – the highest rate in 4 years.


  • National Defence has a dedicated team responsible for coordinating requests made under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. National Defence has increase the number of staff in this team, including establishing a dedicated team to address the backlog and accelerate fulfilling requests for Access to Information and the Privacy Acts.
  • In 2018-19, National Defence received a total of 143 complaints from the Office of the Information Commissioner, compared to 173 received the last reporting period. National Defence established a dedicated team to address complaints.

The Office of the Information Commissioner Investigation into National Defence

  • On December 21, 2018, the Information Commissioner of Canada initiated an investigation into National Defence based on allegations that the department inappropriately withheld information during the processing of access to information requests.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 – Source: QP Note and CoW note on Allegations that National Defence Restricts Public/Media Access to Information

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