Phoenix Pay system: Pay day is here, but many public servants still waiting for their money

For federal public servants being paid through the Phoenix computer system, July 27 was a day to mark on the calendar.

It’s the date many public servants had hoped they would receive at least some of the money Ottawa owed them after a meltdown in the newly launched system threw the payroll into disarray.

In total, according to the federal government, around 80,000 public servants have encountered some sort of problem with the new system, which was rolled out in February.

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Early last week, Public Services and Procurement Deputy Minister Marie Lemay promised that over half of the 720 government employees who saw their pay dry up completely would be properly compensated on July 27, but made no firm commitment about anyone else.

READ MORE: How did this all start, and how did the Phoenix problems get so bad? 

A federal public employee named Dawn, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of reprisals, told Global News that she returned from leave in March 2016, and has not been paid since.

While she has been receiving emergency pay, she said her telephone calls to the pay centres set up in Miramichi, NB and Gatineau, Que., “are either busy or hung up on, and emails go unanswered.”

Wednesday brought no good news.

“I have just checked my accounts and can confirm that I have not been paid,” Dawn said in an email Wednesday morning.

WATCH: Problems continue with government’s Phoenix pay system

She’s not alone. There is disappointment and ongoing frustration for many other employees, who also opened their accounts to find not much had changed.

READ MORE:  federal minister visits troubled N.B. Phoenix offices

Carmel Baron, an Alberta resident who retired from the public service in March, did not receive her final paycheck until June 1. She said she is still waiting for overtime pay from both February and March and described the situation “ridiculous.”

“My situation is not dire … but it would be nice to have the money because I worked for it,” she said Wednesday.

A nurse working for Public Health in Northern Ontario, who asked that her name not be used, said she has experienced missing, incorrect or inconsistent pay since the end of March.

In a phone conversation with Global News, the nurse confirmed she was paid more than the usual amount on Wednesday, but she was not able to sign into the Phoenix system to see which back-pay issues had been sorted and which ones had not.

Meanwhile, Public Services Minister Judy Foote was in New Brunswick on Wednesday for a firsthand look at the federal government Phoenix payroll problems.

Ottawa has blamed a steep learning curve for employees using the system, as well as a massive back-log of payroll files, for the ongoing issues.

In addition to those problems, Phoenix was briefly inaccessible on Wednesday as a result of an emergency shut-down at a data centre in Ottawa. Shared Services Canada confirmed that smoke was detected at the facility on the Aviation Parkway, resulting in an evacuation. The system was back up by 4 p.m.