PHOENIX FIASCO HITS NORTHERNERS HARD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – The federal government’s Phoenix Pay System fiasco is still impacting thousands of federal employees, and Nunavut’s employees may be feeling it more than most.
Last Thursday, in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a ministerial working group to address this issue, Nunavut’s Senator Dennis Patterson issued a call to Nunavut residents in the federal public service, to share their stories via Facebook or email. Senator Patterson promised to keep all correspondence confidential, in case employees feared reprisal from their bosses, preventing them from sharing their stories.
“As you know in the isolated postings we are quite different from the rest of Canadian offices throughout Canada,” says one respondent. “The [Isolated Posts Allowances] make up half of the cheque if not more than half, so when someone in [an] isolated posting doesn’t receive this…well it can be a huge problem.”
Over the weekend, stories about mothers on maternity leave with delayed pay and employees depleting their savings and facing eviction were received by the Senator’s office. Another story told of a young Inuk forced to sell his skidoo just before the spring hunting season in order to keep up with his bills and support his family.
“These stories are truly heartbreaking,” Senator Patterson comments. “The very high cost of living in the north does not give people much leeway and many Nunavummiut are telling me that they were already living paycheque to paycheque. By not paying them properly, the government is pushing them into desperate situations. Some have had to lean on their family for support during these difficult times, but other lack that safety net.”
The current federal government launched Phoenix knowing that it wasn’t ready and now it’s going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to fix their mistakes.
Senator Patterson’s office is working on compiling the stories received into a series of non-identifying examples of what northern Canadians are going through due to the pay issue and will be appending them to a letter he is preparing for the task force.
If you have a story to share about Phoenix, please share it with Dennis.Patterson@sen.parl.gc.ca or call 613.992.0480.