Claim damages caused by Phoenix: financial costs and lost investment income

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The Government of Canada reached an agreement with a number of bargaining agents to compensate current and former employees for damages caused by the Phoenix pay system. This is for financial and/or non-financial damages, including but not limited to interest, general stress, aggravation and lost time.

Who can submit a claim

You can request compensation for financial costs and lost investment income if you are in a position to check all the boxes below:

    • you cashed in, in part or in whole, a publicly available financial investment instrument (that you owned prior to experiencing Phoenix pay problems) because your pay was late. These could be investment instruments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, interest-bearing accounts and guaranteed investment certificates (GIC)

    • you had to withdraw money early from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) because you were not paid by the Phoenix pay system

    • your pay, severance or pension was delayed because of problems with the Phoenix pay system

    • you had to pay interest on a loan, mortgage, credit card or other debt because your severance or pension payment was paid late

Check your eligibility

The Phoenix damages agreement applies to:

Current employees, 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 with their bargaining agents may submit a claim. Those bargaining agents are included in the list above.

Who is not eligible

This agreement does not apply to:

  • employees represented by bargaining agents who did not sign the damages 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

What is the threshold and how does it work

A one-time threshold of $1,500 will apply in certain cases as specified in section 21 of the damages agreement. This means that you will receive compensation if the total amount of the damages to be paid for severe impacts caused by the Phoenix pay system, including financial costs and lost investment income, is greater than $1,500.

If you think your claim for such damages will exceed $1,500, you can submit a claim through this process.

This threshold applies only once for severe damages claims. You can combine several items in one claim to ensure the one-time threshold is met. Once you have met the threshold, it will not apply to any subsequent claims submitted for compensation for damages for severe impacts caused by the Phoenix pay system, including this claims process and the process for “Severe personal or financial hardship” currently in development.

What I can claim

Each person is in a different situation. Claims for financial costs and lost investment income will be processed on a case-by-case basis.

You can claim lost investment income during the period in which you were unpaid. The amount you can claim cannot be greater that the amount of your missed net pay. In other words, if your net missing pay was for $2,000 but you cashed in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate that was for $5,000, we would refund the lost interest only on $2,000.

We realize that you may not be in a position to figure out the exact amount that you can claim. The claims office can assist you and do the math for you, and provide the breakdown to you.

You may claim interest if your pay, severance pay or pension payment was delayed beyond what would be normal established processing times:

  • Severance payments should be processed within thirty (30) days of receipt of the severance pay annex by the Public Service Pay Centre.
  • Pension payments should be processed within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the date the application is approved by the Government of Canada Pension Centre, or within forty five (45) days of receipt of all required documents by the Pension Centre, whichever is later.

The interest will be calculated as the average Bank of Canada discount rate from the previous month plus 3% from the date the payment should have been made to the date the payment was issued. You may want to consult the interest rate table to estimate how much you could claim. Since 2016, the interest rate has varied between 3.75% and 5.00%.

Note that that since 2016, there has been an out-of-pocket claims process for employees who incurred additional expenses because of Phoenix pay problems.

Example 1: interest on late payment
interest on late payment. Text version below:

Daniel, a CS-05, filed his retirement paperwork on , and expected his net severance payment (after source deductions) of about $50,000 by .

Because the severance pay was paid only on , ten months later, Daniel may be entitled to compensation: he can file a claim for interest on the late payment.

The amount of compensation Daniel is entitled to is calculated using the average Bank of Canada discount rate from the previous month plus 3% and is based on ten months where the time to issue the payment exceeded the normal established processing timelines. The eligible compensation is $1,562.50.

Is Daniel eligible to file this type of claims? Yes!

  1. As a CS-05, he was a member of PIPSC, who has signed the Phoenix Damages Agreement.
  2. His severance was paid much later than the normal 30-day processing time.
  3. His compensation for financial loss is greater than the $1,500 threshold required for this type of claim. 
Example 2: early withdrawal from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP)

Sam an EC-05, was underpaid between April and October 2018. In order to pay his living expenses, he withdrew $15,000 from his RRSP in January 2019. He received payment for the missing net pay of $15,000 in February, 2019.

The amount of compensation Sam could be entitled to is based on a comparison of his actual income tax liabilities in 2018 and 2019 versus the tax liability he would have incurred had he not withdrawn the funds from his RRSP in 2019 but had left them there to be withdrawn as a RRIF payment in future years. The eligible compensation is $4,000.

Since he was underpaid for 15 pay periods, Sam is also eligible to receive compensation for interest on his missing pay. Using the average Bank of Canada discount rate from the previous month plus 3% from the date his pay should have been made to the date it was issued, this interest compensation is $400.

Sam’s total compensation is $4,400.

Is Sam eligible to file this type of claim? Yes!

  1. As an EC-05, he was a member of CAPE, who has signed the Phoenix Damages Agreement.
  2. His regular pay was not fully paid on time.
  3. His compensation for financial loss is over the $1,500 threshold required for this type of claim.

Note that if Sam had not made an early withdrawal from her RRSP, the compensation would have only been for the interest on missing pay ($400). In this situation, he would not have been eligible for compensation under the terms of the agreement since the amount does not exceed the $1,500 threshold.

Example 3: lost investment opportunity

Caroline, a FI-03, did not receive her regular pay for 8 pay periods between June and September 2016. She finally received a payment on January 12, 2018. The net amount of her missing pay was $21,000.

In order to pay her living expenses, she had sold 260 shares of ABC stock on September 30, 2016, at a price of $81.26 per share. She incurred a selling fee of $35. The price of these shares on , was $105.16 per share.

The amount of the compensation Caroline is entitled to is the increase in the value of the shares between the date she sold them and the date she received her missing pay. Including the selling fee, the eligible compensation is $6,249.

Caroline is also eligible to receive compensation for interest on her missing pay. Using the average Bank of Canada discount rate from the previous month plus 3% from the date the payment should have been made to the date the payment was issued, this interest compensation is $164.

Caroline’s total compensation is $6,413.

Is Caroline eligible to file this type of claims? Yes!

  1. As an FI-03, she was a member of ACFO, who has signed the Phoenix Damages Agreement.
  2. Her regular pay was not paid on time.
  3. Her compensation for financial loss is over the $1,500 threshold required for this type of claim.

Note that if Caroline had not cashed in her shares, the compensation would have only been for the interest on missing pay ($164). In this situation, Caroline would not have been compensated because the amount does not exceed the $1,500 threshold set out in the agreement.

How to submit a claim

Remember, not everyone is eligible for compensation under the Phoenix Damages Agreement. Check your eligibility.

Once you’ve established that you are eligible, complete the claim form and gather the documents necessary to support your claim. If information is unclear or missing, we will contact you.

Send your claim to your departmental claims officer, or to the officer in the last organization where you worked.

Filing a claim will not impact your pay or your pension payment since compensation for the claim will not be processed through the Phoenix pay system.

You are encouraged to bundle your items as much as possible into one claim to avoid unnecessary delays or increased paperwork. Complex items could take longer to process.

Privacy notice statement

The personal information requested in this form is collected under the authority of the Financial Administration Act and will be used to determine eligibility and assess your payment amount in accordance with the Phoenix Damages Agreement. Refusal to provide the requested personal information will result in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) not being able to process the claim. The personal information you provide may be shared with:

  • TBS
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Your bargaining agent

Personal information will be protected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Act and as described in Personal Information Bank PSU 931 (Accounts Payable). Your information may also be used or disclosed for financial reporting and program evaluation.

Under the Privacy Act, individuals have a right to request access to and correction of their personal information. If you wish to avail yourself of these rights or require clarification about this privacy notice statement, please contact your organization’s Privacy Coordinator.If you are not satisfied with the response to your privacy concern, you may wish to communicate with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by telephone at 1‑800‑282‑1376 or by email at info@priv.gc.ca.

More information

Contact us

If you have questions regarding this claims process, please contact:

Public enquiries

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Toll-free: 1-877-636-0656
Email: questions@tbs-sct.gc.ca

Note: If you are making an enquiry via email, please include a phone number so that we can reach you in case we need more information. Please do not include protected information such as your date of birth or social insurance number (SIN).

We may contact you by email to get more information either to start or continue processing your application, or to ask for more documents. We will always reference your claim number when we do.

For more information on how to protect your personal information, visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

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