Damages: Compensation for eligible employees impacted by the Phoenix pay system (represented by signatory bargaining agents) — 2019 Agreement

The Government of Canada signed a separate damages agreement in October 2020, for federal employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

In June 2019, the Government of Canada and a number of public service unions finalized an agreement to compensate employees, current and former, who were paid through the Phoenix pay system. Separate agencies have since negotiated a similar agreement with their bargaining agents.

Eligible current and former employees covered under this 2019 damages agreement may also be eligible for other monetary benefits, such as general damages compensation of up to $1,000 for the late implementation of the 2014 collective agreements. A memorandum of agreement was reached between the Government of Canada and these public service unions to provide additional damages provisions that align or “catch up” with the damages agreement finalized between the Government of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada in October 2020.

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Who this 2019 agreement applies to

The Phoenix damages agreement applies to current and former employees, and the estates of deceased employees represented by these bargaining agents:

  • Association of Canadian Financial Officers
  • Association of Justice Counsel
  • Canadian Association of Professional Employees
  • Canadian Federal Pilots Association
  • Canadian Merchant Service Guild
  • Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 104
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2656 (National Film Board)
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees SGCT 4835 (National Film Board)
  • Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association
  • Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (East)
  • Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (West)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers
  • Research Council Employees’ Association
  • The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
  • Unifor Local 87-M (Non-Supervisory Printing Services)
  • Unifor Local 5454 (Canadian Air Traffic Control Association)
  • Unifor Local 2182 (Radio Operations)
  • Union of Canadian Correctional Officers

Other eligible employees

The agreement also applies to:

  • employees excluded from bargaining agents who have signed on to the agreement
  • unrepresented employees
  • executives

Note: Employees of separate agencies who have a similar agreement are eligible for compensation.

This agreement does not apply to:

  • employees represented by bargaining agents who did not sign the agreement
  • members of the class action as certified in Bouchard c. Procureur Général du Canada (200-06-000214-174) and any other member of the class that could be added by the courts, including:
    • students
    • casual employees
    • workers working no more than one third of regular hours
    • employees with terms of less than three months

Compensation overview

The agreement provides compensation to current and former employees who have suffered financial and non-financial damages due to pay issues caused by the Phoenix pay system. The agreement covers damages from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2020.

General compensation for damages

In recognition that employees have been impacted, either directly or indirectly, by the implementation of the Phoenix pay system, the government has negotiated an agreement by which employees, former employees, and the estates of deceased employees are awarded general compensation in the form of additional leave.

This leave represents general compensation for financial and/or non-financial damages, including but not limited to interest, general stress, aggravation, and lost time.

The agreement provides for:

  • crediting employees’ leave banks with up to 5 days additional annual leave
  • a payment equivalent of up to 5 days additional annual leave to former employees and the estates of deceased employees

Additional compensation – Catch-up payments

Amendments have been made to the 2019 damages agreement, through a separate memorandum of agreement, to provide eligible individuals with monetary benefits that align with those contained in the PSAC damages agreement. These amendments or “catch-up” provisions provide for:

  • additional payments that are equal to the difference between $300 and an employee’s daily rate of pay. For each fiscal year, the amount of the additional payment is equal to the difference between $300 and the daily rate of pay of the employee’s substantive position in Phoenix on October 23, 2020. This payment will only apply if the difference is more than $10.
  • general damages compensation of up to $1,000 for the late implementation of the 2014 collective agreements (excludes executives and unrepresented employees)
General compensation for damages for current employees: Additional annual leave and catch-up payments

Current employees are entitled to the following:

  • 2 additional days of leave for the 2016–17 fiscal year
  • 1 additional day of leave for the 2017–18 fiscal year
  • 1 additional day of leave for the 2018–19 fiscal year
  • 1 additional day of leave for the 2019–20 fiscal year

Over 2019 and 2020, employees were credited the days of leave they were eligible to receive.

Read about general compensation for damages related to Phoenix for more details on catch-up payments.

General compensation for damages for former employees: Payment equivalent to additional annual leave and catch-up payments

Over 2019 and 2020, federal organizations credited up to 5 days of leave to eligible employees. If an employee retired or left the public service on or before June 12, 2019, they are considered a former employee and can request a payment equivalent to the additional leave granted to current employees.

The payment will be calculated based on the salary rate of the former employee’s position on the day the claim is processed.

More information about processes for former employees to submit claims for the late implementation of the 2014 collective agreements and further catch-up amounts equivalent to leave will be available in December 2021. Read about general compensation for damages related to Phoenix for former employees to learn more.

Compensation for severe impacts

Current and former employees who suffered severe impacts and hardship because of Phoenix can receive financial compensation for damages valued above and beyond the 5 days of additional leave granted as general compensation for financial and/or non-financial damages.

The provisions for compensation for severe impacts apply to current employees, former employees, and the estates of deceased employees eligible under the terms of the agreement.

A threshold of $1,500 will apply to most of these claims. This means employees must experience a total loss greater than $1,500 to submit a claim.

All claims will be processed on a case-by-case basis.

Financial costs and lost investment income

Individuals who have been financially impacted by Phoenix may request compensation if, for example, they cashed in investments, missed opportunities to earn interest on savings accounts, or experienced delays in receiving severance, pension or pay and were not able to earn interest on those sums.

Leave taken because of health issues related to Phoenix

Employees who took sick leave or other types of paid or unpaid leave because of an illness stemming from pay issues can also submit a claim to be compensated.

For claims that are accepted, leave can be re-credited or otherwise compensated:

  • For current employees: Sick leave or paid leave used will be re-credited to the employee’s leave bank, if applicable, and unpaid leave may be compensated
  • For former employees: The use of other paid leave (excluding sick leave) or unpaid leave will be compensated

The $1,500 threshold does not apply to this type of claim.

Severe personal or financial hardship

A claims process is available for individuals who, because of Phoenix pay issues, experienced severe personal or financial hardship such as, but not limited to, bankruptcy, impacts to credit ratings, mental anguish or trauma.

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