Canada Life: PSAC pleased parliamentary committee recommends compensation to members

PSAC welcomes several of the recommendations from the parliamentary committee investigating the Canada Life fiasco, which support the union’s calls for federal public service workers to be compensated for issues with the health care plan change.  

The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates presented its report earlier this month on the changeover of the Public Service Health Care Plan from Sun Life to Canada Life in July 2023. 

The committee presented nine recommendations which further highlighted a concerning pattern of issues by the federal government in the implementation of critical services for workers.  

Compensation for workers 

The report recommends that plan members be compensated for the financial losses they have suffered as a result of unjustified delays or denials by Canada Life. It also recommends that the cap for physiotherapy be revisited to bring it in line with previous coverage. We are pleased to see these recommendations, as we have been pushing for these same changes, even filing a policy grievance demanding that affected members be fully compensated for the hardships they suffered due to the transition to Canada Life.  

PSAC also welcomes the recommendation that the government must ensure the selected insurer has the capacity to offer its services adequately in both official languages. Our members deserve the same level of service in both English and French. 

Transparency and consultation 

Six of the nine recommendations presented by the committee are related to transparency and consultation, notably more consultation with caregivers and retirees as well as greater transparency around the decision-making process and the service standard expected of the insurer. 

Although PSAC agrees with the committee’s recommendations to strengthen consultation on critical issues that impact our members, including Canada Life, the government is still failing in its obligation to meaningfully consult with unions and the public service workers impacted by these decisions.   

We have seen a repeated pattern with the way the government operates: making unilateral decisions that impact workers, followed by hollow apologies when major problems occur that have real and dire consequences for federal public service workers and their families. This pattern has been repeated with the rollout of the Phoenix pay system, the government’s misguided telework mandate, and now the botched transfer to Canada Life.  

This concerning trend has repeatedly broken the trust of PSAC and our members in this government, and we need to see real and concrete steps to remedy this lack of respect and fulfill their legal obligation to consult with unions and workers on these issues. 

PSAC will continue to push for the government to implement these recommendations quickly so that our members are fairly compensated and have timely access to the health benefits they are entitled to. 



June 20, 2024