Federal Union of Taxation Employees national president Marc Brière was in Kelowna Wednesday for a rally to protest the federal Phoenix payroll system. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Fed up federal employees rally in Kelowna

Two-year-old system has left an estimated 600,000 payroll problems that need to be fixed

The national president of the union that represents thousands of federal taxation department employees says the ongoing problems that have plagued the federal Phoenix payroll system show the system is irreparably broken and should be scrapped.

Marc Brière was in Kelowna Wednesday to join about 20 federal employees for a lunch-time rally outside the federal building on Queensway.

Brière said with an estimated 600,000 payroll issues still needing to be dealt with, he is not confident Phoenix can be salvaged and rise from the ashes.

“I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel at this point,” said Brière, adding if Ottawa cannot make the system work properly “ditch the system.”

The computerized Phoenix payroll system, implemented by the former Conservative government and kept by the current Liberal government, has created a litany of problems for federal workers’ pay.

On Wednesday, the protesters carried small signs saying “Burnt by Phoenix.”

Brière said many federal employees are scared to take vacations or accept promotions because they are afraid of more problems with their pay through Phoenix.

“If a private company had these problems, the federal government would sue them,” said the union leader, who is a Canada Revenue Agency employee and said he has seen firsthand some of the problems created by the faulty payroll system.

One, he said, is T4 slips—required by Canadians to file their taxes—not being the same as the information Phoenix provides. He said that may cause thousands of federal workers to have to do their taxes this year with incorrect information and then have to go back later and refile changes.

Kim Koch, a federal worker from Prince George who was at Wednesday’s rally in Kelowna, said if someone had told her four years ago the federal payroll system would be experiencing the type, and volume, of problems it has had for the last two years, she would have thought that was crazy talk.

“In B.C. in December alone, we had a problem with the pay system and (the provincial Medical Services Program) premiums not coinciding,” said Koch. “No date has been given for when that will be fixed.”

She said while not every federal employee has payroll problems that need to be directly addressed, all federal workers are affected because none are sure that they will be paid properly, or at all, every two weeks.

Phoenix has been in place for two years and the estimated cost of getting rid of it is about $5 billion.

Queensland, Australia had a similar payroll system for its state employees and it had similar problems. Queensland was forced to dump that program at a cost of $1.9 billion.

The federal government has repeatedly apologized for the problems Phoenix is creating and says it is working to fix the system as quickly as possible, but many feel that could take years.

Brière said more compensation advisers are needed to help federal employees deal with the problems the payroll system is creating, as it is causing real hardship for many federal workers.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna firefights camp out under the stars for youth recovery house

The firefighters will be on the top of the Yacht Club until tomorrow night

Sheryl Crow hits West Kelowna for Mission Hill Winery concert

Songstress seems struck by the natural beauty of the Okanagan

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Okanagan wildfires have potential to become firestorms, says UBC expert

David Andison said to let smaller fires go, to create pockets in the landscape for new forests

Evacuation order downgraded near Mount Eneas wildfire

Fire chief Dennis Craig said wind was blowing the fire away from homes

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Wildfire near Keremeos still burning at 255 hectares

The Placer Mountain wildfire is still active

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

VIDEO: B.C. rancher demands change on how gov’t handles emergencies after 2017 wildfires

Essential service designation, tax deferrals should be on the table for ranchers

From hot dog to not dog: stuffed toy prompts car break in

Victoria couple said dog toy had been in the backseat for 18 years without problems

Update: Evacuation orders downgraded for wildfire near Summerland

The Mount Conkle wildfire is 90 per cent guarded

Most Read