Phoenix Pay System FAQs
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Phoenix Pay System FAQs

*Updated on January 13 2017
**Updated on February 17 2017
*** Updated on March 14 2017
****Updated on May 5 2017
**** Updated on July 31st 2017
1. What has the AJC done about the Phoenix Pay System?
As mentioned in previously communications, the AJC has used virtually every available mechanism to put pressure on the Government in close collaboration with the other bargaining agents.

Employment issues for federal servants fall under the PSLRA.  This legislative framework is different from the common law and differs from many of the employment law or tort concepts that you may be familiar with. We have used the tools provided to us aggressively:  we have filed policy grievances, we have brought a mandamus application in federal court, we have worked with the media to raise awareness and create pressure, we have demonstrated in front of the Office of the Prime Minister and of course we have been assisting individual members with the most serious Phoenix problems.  We will continue to use every available mechanism until every member´s Phoenix-related issues relating to this crisis have been resolved.

To date, the community of bargaining agents, including the AJC, has convinced Treasury Board to establish a process that allows for the filing of a claim for certain expenses incurred because of the problems related to the Phoenix Pay system.  A working group of bargaining agent heads and PSPC officials meet on a regular basis to get the latest updates, review priorities, and try to improve the process.

In turn, the AJC continues to provide email updates to its registered members regarding the Phoenix Pay system and continues to escalate priority cases to PSPC officials.  If for some reason, you are not receiving email updates, please contact us at admin@ajc-ajj.ca to update your personal contact information.  

2. What are the current pay-related issues facing AJC members?
It is the AJC´s understanding that incidents of AJC members not receiving regular pay are far fewer than those experienced by members of other bargaining agents.  

However, there are still numerous issues affecting our members that include:

  • New hires are reporting that they have yet to receive pay or be enrolled in requisite benefit plans.  
  • Members recently deployed on interdepartmental assignment or appointments are either not getting paid or are reporting getting paid by both departments.
  • Members on leave without pay (LWOP) status are reporting that the processing of LWOP is very slow.  Employees who have gone on long-term LWOP are continuing to be paid, and employees who submitted short-term LWOP forms are waiting for them to be processed.
  • Members receiving acting pay also seem to be experiencing issues, such as receiving too much or too little acting pay.  The tax implications of being overpaid are more serious than you might think.  
  • Some members in the LP1 and LP2 categories, who are not at the top of the pay scale have not received their in-range lock step increases.
  • Some LP1 and LP2 at the top of scale, who are entitled to the performance pay, have yet to receive the lump-sum performance award payments or have experienced serious delays.
  • Members are also experiencing delays in the processing of claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses like law society fees and parking.

3. Does the Public Services and Procurement Canada have a priority list?
Overall Status

As of November 22 2016, PSPC has closed over 90% of employee cases in their backlog dating June 1 2016, leaving approximately 18,000 employees still open. These cases are being handled through the Temporary Pay Unit in Gatineau, Quebec, while staff in Miramichi, New Brunswick, handle new day-to-day pay quests and Priority 1 and Priority 2 cases.

Priority 1: Employees not receiving pay

These employees include students, new hires and those returning from leave without pay.

Timeline

These employees' cases are supposed to be addressed within three working days upon notification of the issue.

Priority 2: Employees with pay at risk of disruption

These employees include those going on maternity leave or long-term disability and those leaving the public service.

Timeline

These employees' cases are supposed to be addressed within four to six weeks upon notification of the issue.

Priority 3: Employees not being paid properly

These employees are receiving regular pay, but missing supplementary pay.

For more up to date news, please click here.


4. How do I ensure that I don´t miss a potential mistake with my Pay?
  1. Examine your pay statement every payday to ensure it is correct.
  2. If there is a problem, flag it to your immediate supervisor/manager.
  3. Contact your Trusted Source and Liaison Unit to ensure that it received all the payroll information and instructions from your supervisor/manager and that such information has been inputted and submitted to the Pay Centre.
  4. If the information has been received and inputted by your Trusted Source and Liaison Unit, contact the Public Service Pay Center by emailing paycentre.centredepaye@pwgsc-tpsgc.gc.ca .


5. What can I do if I have an issue with my pay expense reimbursement or benefit enrolment?
(Please note that for any pay-related issue, you must follow the process outlined below except as otherwise indicated)


You should start with an enquiry to the HR Trusted Source & Liaison Unit (HR TS&LU) to see if your documentation was sent to the Pay Centre to process the payment or change.  Any item which requires management approval comes through the HR TS&LU.  Everything that is a personal option must be sent by you to the Pay Centre, we cannot do this for you. The procedure in the HR TS&LU is to notify you with an e-mail that an item has been sent to the Pay Centre.

(If the HR TS&LU does not have confirmation, then you must get management to verify that the Pay Centre was notified of your issue).  

It is left up to you to make enquiries through the Pay Centre on when the increase will be processed.  The HR TS&LU is not mandated to make enquiries on your behalf when you can´t get through.  

The HR TS&LU would only get involved if the Pay Centre's escalation process has been exhausted and there remains a dispute on salary or allowance issues.  The HR TS&LU would then get involved and, where required, bring in other stakeholders such as Labour Relations.

With regard to the options for self-service in the Compensation Web Application (CWA), the HR TS&LU has no mandate to get involved, for example, with personal options by employees, such as paying additional tax or changing insurance coverage.

If you are being underpaid you can:

  • Request Priority Pay: At the request of a manager and financial authority, departments can provide 60% of your gross pay within 24-48 hours. (These payments are deducted from your future pay.) For more information on Priority Pay, please click here.
  • Request Emergency Salary Advance: Emergency salary advances may be available to members, please consult question 6 for full details.

6. How can I make a request for an emergency salary advance?
Requests for emergency salary advances where delays in payment are causing personal hardship can be made in accordance with TB's Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment.  

You can request an emergency salary advance (ESA) when you are not paid.  You must ask the Public Service Pay Centre to send your department a requisition (Form GC 80) requesting an emergency salary advances payment of estimated net salary.

The GC 80 Form will go to the delegated manager for their signature (delegated manager must have a section 34 delegation under the Financial Administration Act and is a level 4 HR sub-delegation (usually DG level)). Once signed it is provided to Finance to issue the payment.  

The GC 80 Form is then provided to the Trusted Source and Liaison Unit at the Public Service Pay Centre to record that the advance was issued and so they may recover the payment from the first available funds.

The applicable excerpts of the TB's Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment are reproduced below:

16. Standard of timeliness

"16.1 Persons with the delegated authority are to adhere to the following pay timeliness standards:

a. On initial appointment, or on return to work following leave without pay or any other salary interruption, the salary payment covering the entitlement for the first pay period, should be available by the end of the following pay period and thereafter on the regular payday.

b. Upon termination of employment, the last salary payment should be available within 20 working days of the struck-off strength effective date.

c. All changes in pay should be reflected in the second pay period following the one in which the authorized document is received by Compensation.

17. Emergency salary advance

17.1 When a regular salary payment is not issued to a person as per subsection 16.1 paragraph a. above, persons with the delegated authority are to ensure that an emergency salary advance is requisitioned by the employing organization immediately. An emergency salary advance is to be issued only for time worked in a pay period and not paid through the normal processing of that pay.

17.2 A person does not have to request an emergency salary advance. If the person indicates that he or she does not want the advance when it is offered, the department is not required to issue one.

17.3 Emergency salary advances are not to be issued under the following circumstances:

a. for allowances or retroactive or extra-duty entitlements;

b.to replace missing or delayed direct deposit payments-these are to be handled in accordance with section 7 of the Electronic Payments Regulations; or

c.to replace lost, stolen or destroyed cheques after they have been delivered to the person-these are to be handled in accordance with section 5 of the Cheque Issue Regulations, 1997.

17.4 The amount of the emergency salary advance is to be calculated to the approximate net pay entitlement for the pay period covered and in no case is to exceed two thirds of the person's gross pay entitlement for the period.

17.5 Emergency salary advances are to be recovered from the first salary payments following the issuance of the emergency salary advance. When the emergency salary advance could not be recovered from the first salary payments, the person in receipt of the advance is required to refund the advance by means of a money order or personal cheque. Under no circumstances can the emergency salary advances be recovered over an extended period.

17.6 Emergency salary advances constitute accountable advances within the meaning of the Financial Administration Act and, when necessary, may be recovered from any monies payable to the person concerned or that person's estate."

7. I'm on maternity/paternity leave and the department has yet to send my Record of Employment to Service Canada?
You must first contact Service Canada's Employment Insurance Program Section to explain the situation in detail. Service Canada should be in a position to provide instructions on advancing your maternity/paternity claim forward.

Generally, the common rule is to ask questions and explain the predicament to Service Canada beforehand, concerning any difficulties you may be experiencing with the employer.  If Service Canada knows a problems exist in advance, it usually will not apply any penalties.  A maternity/paternity claim must be filed within 4 weeks from your last day worked.

8. What happens if I reached a dead-end with the Trusted Source and Pay Centre and continue to not get paid or reimbursed?
In addition to requesting priority pay and an emergency salary advance (see our May 6th communiqué for more details), here are a few new things you can do once you have exhausted the process outlined in Question 5:

If you are not receiving pay or have been seriously shorted funds, contact the AJC at admin@ajc-ajj.com and provide your PRI number.  In the case of employees not receiving pay, the pay center has a system in place to enable corrections to be made quickly.  For significant shortfalls, such as payments of thousands of dollars of law society fees, the AJC will ask to have these considered as a priority.  Currently, priority is being given public-service wide to those who are not receiving salary payments.  

Also, Expense claims must be sent by your manager to the Trusted Source for approval. The Trusted Source is then responsible for forwarding the proper paperwork to the pay centre to be processed. If you have not received confirmation of this from the Trusted Source, you have to contact them first.

9. What happens if I reached a dead-end with the Trusted Source and Pay Centre and am unable to secure enrolment under the requisite benefit plans?
Recent pay processes and system issues have impacted group insurance benefit plan administration. These issues are affecting the ability of new employees to access their benefits and existing employees to change their levels of coverage.

In collaboration with Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Plan administrators, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has developed temporary measures to address some of the issues with your benefits. These new measures will be in effect from September 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017.

Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP)

Plan registration for new employees

If you are a new employee of the public service, you may not be aware that the PSHCP is a voluntary plan and requires an application within 60 days of being employed to have coverage start the first of the following month, otherwise, a three month waiting period applies. For example, if you started as a new employee of the public service on February 1, 2016, and immediately completed an application form, your coverage would have been effective March 1, 2016.

If you have not yet applied for coverage, please note that the waiting periods associated with late submission of an application have been temporarily waived.

This means that if you are eligible for PHSCP you are to:

  1. Complete and submit an electronic application form using the Public Service Health Care Plan online application through the Phoenix self-service tool.
  2. If unsuccessful, email a completed and scanned copy of the paper Employee application form to TPSGC.RSSFP-PSHCP.PWGSC@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca before March 31, 2017.
  3. Complete Positive Enrolment with Sun Life once your application is approved and you are in receipt of your certificate number.

Changes in PSHCP coverage for current members

If you are currently a member of the PSHCP and want to make changes to your coverage levels (single/family or hospital levels), the waiting period associated with late submission of an application has been temporarily waived if your application form is received by the Pay Centre before March 31, 2017.

To make changes to your coverage levels, you are to:
  1. Use the Public Service Health Care Plan online application through the Phoenix self-service tool.
  2. If unsuccessful, email a completed and scanned copy of the paper Employee application form to TPSGC.RSSFP-PSHCP.PWGSC@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca before March 31, 2017.

Retroactivity

Until March 31, 2017, all changes to PSHCP coverage will start the first of the month following the Pay Centre´s receipt of a request, unless a retroactive date is requested. Requests for retroactive coverage must be made in writing to the Pay Centre before March 31, 2017, but will only be effective the first of the month following the date you were originally eligible for the coverage change. For example, a member who married on March 28, 2016, but who had a waiting period applied to change coverage from single to family can, until March 31, 2017, request a retroactive coverage effective date of April 1, 2016. A retroactive request must be for the first of the month following the date you became eligible for the change and cannot be for a date earlier than September 1, 2015. You may wish to choose this option if you incurred a claim that is not eligible because your coverage was not established on time.
 
If you have gone on Leave without Pay (LWOP) and did not elect to make a change in coverage prior to your departure but would like to now, you may do so until March 31, 2017, without returning to work. You can make the change by contacting the Pay Centre and supplying them with the necessary Employee application form. Any required contributions that result from the change in coverage will be collected or refunded upon your return to work.
NOTE: Changes in coverage are regularly transmitted to Sun Life. If you are requesting retroactive coverage, it may take a few weeks following the Pay Centre´s processing of your application before the Sun Life systems are updated.

Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP)

Plan registration for new employees

If you are a new employee of the public service and eligible for the dental care plan, you will automatically be placed into the Plan after a three month waiting period. If you are unsure of your coverage start date or require your certificate number, contact the Pay Centre.

Changes in PSDCP coverage for current members

If you are on Leave without Pay (LWOP) and are required to remit contributions in order to retain coverage but have lost coverage on or after September 1, 2015, because contributions were not remitted you may, until March 31, 2017, contact the Pay Centre and request reinstatement without returning to work. You will be required to remit all missed contributions in a lump sum as well as your normal quarterly installments along with your request.

Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP)

Plan registration for new employees

If you are a new employee of the public service since September 1, 2015, and are eligible for life insurance coverage under the PSMIP, you may wish to complete a PSMIP application form and send it to the Pay Centre. Until March 31, 2017, new employees who have not already applied and been denied life insurance coverage may request Basic and Dependant coverage without completing a Declaration of Health Form. To be eligible, you must be excluded from collective bargaining or hold an executive position. For information on how to apply, please contact the Pay Centre.

For additional information please visit New to the Public Service.


****10. How can I submit a claim for an out-of-pocket expenses related to Phoenix pay issues?
The Treasury Board announced that a claims office was open to reimbursing out-of-pocket expenses public servants have incurred due to problems with the Phoenix pay system.  Currently, Treasury Board's is not willing to compensate employees for interest.  It will however consider out-of-pocket expenses incurred on account of the Pay Centre crisis.  

For example, if you needed to take out a loan with a bank or had an outstanding balance on a credit card, the interest paid could be reimbursed. Please visit the TBS Claims process webpage for more information.



The claims office is designed to reimburse people as quickly as possible and departments will have the authority to pay any claims under $500 without TB approval. Larger and more complex claims will go to the Treasury Board for decision.


As of April 27th 2017: Recognizing the unfair financial burdens these pay issues have placed on employees, the Government of Canada will reimburse those who seek or have already obtained tax advice to address tax implications caused by problems with the Phoenix system. Employees who encountered Phoenix pay issues may seek up to $200 in reimbursement for tax advisory services in relation to their 2016 or 2017 income taxes.
If you have consulted a tax expert, you are invited to submit a claim.


• Please consult the frequently asked questions on tax advisory services reimbursement page here.
• You will find the claims form for the TBS tax advisory services reimbursement here.




**11. What are the tax implications of the Phoenix payroll issues?
The AJC does not provide tax advice however we can share the information we have been able to obtain from PSPC and CRA.  

Preparing for your tax returns

With the upcoming tax season approaching, PSPC has prepared helpful tools that current and former employees can use to prepare for their tax returns.

Starting the week of February 13, tax slips will progressively be available in Phoenix. Employees registered with a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and a Revenu Québec My Account will also be able to access their tax slips through their websites.

The following are five steps you should take to prepare for your tax returns. You can also consult the online ressource Tax Implications of Phoenix payroll.

  1. Obtain your T4 or Relevé 1 slip, available the week of February 13, through Phoenix.
  2. Consult your final 2016 paystub in Phoenix. This paystub will provide you with the total of all payments received in 2016.
  3. Compare your T4 or Relevé 1 slip to your final 2016 paystub to verify that the earnings listed on the paystub match those on the tax slip. If these documents align, you can proceed with filing your tax returns as usual.
  4. If there is an issue with earnings listed on your paystubs or tax slip, consult online questions and answers, which provide information on a range of tax scenarios.
  5. If you still have questions about your earnings or taxes, contact our Call Centre at 1-855-686-4729. Employees not serviced by the Pay Centre should call their departments first, but if they do contact our Call Centre, our agents will transfer them directly to their department´s compensation units, which can answer their questions.

Overpayments and underpayments for tax returns

Overpayments and underpayments are the two biggest tax-related issues employees may encounter for this end of year. Almost all employees who had received an overpayment, and contacted us before December 31, will not have an overpayment showing on their 2016 tax slips, whether the full amount was repaid or not.

However, there were a small number of complex overpayments that could not be processed before December 31. For these, and for employees who did not contact us before December 31, overpayments may appear on the tax slips. In this situation, employees should still file their taxes as they normally would, but they should contact us if they have not done so already. We will then issue an amended tax slip with the overpayment corrected when we process the employee´s outstanding transactions and a repayment arrangement is made.

Any employees who receive an amended tax slip after they have filed their taxes will not have to refile their tax return. We will provide the corrected earnings information to the CRA, which will adjust the tax return. Employees who receive an amended tax slip before they have filed should use the amended slip for their tax return.

It is important to note that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is recommending that employees file their taxes before the April 30 filing deadline with the tax slips they have. When amended tax slips are produced, employees will not have to refile. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will send amended slips to the CRA, and tax returns will be recalculated. You do not need to take any additional steps.

For any employees who received an underpayment, any money owed for 2016 that is received in 2017 must be reported on 2017 tax returns. This means that someone could pay lower income taxes than usual in 2016 and higher income taxes in 2017. If this affects your taxes or eligibility for government benefits after 2017, such as child care, you can submit a claim under the claims process. Each claim will be reviewed based on valid receipts and other supporting documentation.

Note: Important message to current and former Government of Canada employees regarding pay from Marie Lemay, Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada (February 14 2017)
****12. Does the Public Services and Procurement Canada provide regular updates?
PSPC regularly updates public servants on the PSPC webpage. Please check frequently as they update this page regularly.

For the Public Services and Procurement Canada's Technical Briefing on Phoenix, please click here.

****July 2017 Update: The Working Group of Ministers made a commitment to be open and transparent about progress in addressing problems with the Phoenix pay system. The goal is to provide federal employees and the public with clearer, more useful information. To that end, a new version of the public service pay dashboard is being introduced. It has been redesigned to better track the progress being made in ensuring that public servants are paid accurately and on time.

The new dashboard is now available, and updates will continue to be provided on a monthly basis going forward.


13. Where can I find more information on the Pay Services?
Please click here for more information on the Government´s Pay Service.
14. Where can I submit a pay action request?
Please visit the PSPC website.
15. Where can I find more information about or how do I contact the Public Service Pay Centre?
Please visit the PSPC Public Service Pay Centre for more details.
16. Who is my Trusted Source?
The trusted source is the person responsible for ensuring that managers with a financial delegation of authority under Section 34 of the Financial Administration Act are authenticated for all requests affecting financial results, the manager´s budget or both before being sent to the Pay Centre.

Please contact your manager for more information on who your Trusted Source is in the event this information is not available on your departmental intranet.

*17. Where can I find information on my paystub?
Click here to find information on paystubs.
***18. Is there an alternative way to the Phoenix pay system to access your current and archived pay stubs and tax slips?
Simply log in the Public Services and Procurement Canada website. Under Pay services click the Compensation Web Applications (CWA). Rather than going in “Pay System” under Phoenix, go in “Pay stubs and Archived Tax Slips” which is a bit below. In that section, you will find all your pay stubs (archived and current) in the good old format containing much more information.
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