Membership Dues: Most Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about your union dues? Check out our most frequently asked questions.

1. How are my dues calculated? How does my employer know how much I’m supposed to pay? 

PSAC dues are based on the political structure of the union. All members belong to a local, which may have a local dues rate (adopted at its annual general meeting). All locals are affiliated with a component, which has a dues rate that is adopted at the component’s triennial convention. And finally, each component is affiliated with PSAC, which has a rate that is adopted at the national triennial convention. All dues rates are democratically decided.

Dues rates can be either a percentage of salary or a flat rate. Percentage rates are applied against the first step salary of the classification, not on the actual step salary. For most members, dues are not applied against overtime, bonuses or retroactive pay. Part-time members pay pro-rated dues based on the hours worked; however, flat rates are not pro-rated.

A member’s affiliation within a local/component is often determined by the employer or department where they work. For example:

Members who work for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) belong to the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) and may belong to any number of locals within UTE depending on their geographical area of work. Members working for Citizenship and Immigration Canada may belong to either the Canadian Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU) or the Union of National Employees (UNE), depending on the type of work they do, and to a local within either CEIU or UNE depending on either their specific duties or the geographical area of work.

When the PSAC initially receives the job related information for members who may belong to more than one Component, it is not immediately clear as to which Component best represents that member.  While both Components work towards ensuring the correct representation, the member is temporarily assigned to a neutral Component.  This neutral Component is known as the Unallocated Component.  The member continues to pay union dues.  The member pays the PSAC portion of dues (currently 0.9593% + $1 for the PSAC Strike Fund) on the 1st step salary of the classification.  As of July 2021, the member will also pay a Component portion of dues.  This rate is the Weighted Component Average Rate (currently 0.61044%).  When the member’s correct Component affiliation has been determined, the member is then transferred and the union dues reflecting the PSAC, proper Component and the Local rate (which could be a percentage or flat rate).

Monthly, PSAC receives information from your employer regarding the work you do, such as your classification and hours of work. This helps PSAC determine the correct amount of union dues that your employer should be deducting from your pay. If there are adjustments – such as a transfer from one department to another – PSAC recalculates the correct amount and advises the employer in kind.

2. I believe I paid union dues when I shouldn’t have. My compensation advisor told me they submitted a refund request for union dues owed to me. Why is it taking so long to be reimbursed? How will I receive my refund?

It is the responsibility of the employer to start and stop union dues in accordance with the various collective agreements and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Directive on Union Dues. PSAC cannot access the pay system of any employer. In far too many cases, the overwhelming workload on the compensation advisors caused by the Phoenix pay system has caused a serious backlog in ensuring corrections to your pay are done on time. As such, when union dues were not stopped on time, a compensation advisor will send a request to PSAC to refund union dues.

As the compensation community continues to work through its considerable backlog of pay files caused by Phoenix, the volume of requests to authorize refunds has grown exponentially at PSAC. At this time, PSAC has received nearly five (5) times the normal volume of requests. All requests are processed using the first in, first out principle so that members who have been waiting the longest are treated fairly in the process. Each request is evaluated and reconciled individually. In some cases, a refund request for one period of time can be reconciled against a request to recover arrears for another period of time. In other cases, there could be multiple refund requests received for different periods of time. PSAC’s membership department is doing its best to close as many outstanding requests as quickly as possible. Additional staff have been added to the effort to expedite the matter.

Once a refund has been authorized, the authorization is returned to the compensation advisor for them to action in the Phoenix pay system. Refunds are not issued directly to the member from PSAC as it forms part of the pay process and an adjustment in union dues must be reflected on the employer provided T4.

If the Phoenix Pay Centre serves your department and you are experiencing pay issues, or would like to report a problem with your pay (including requesting an emergency salary advance, or accessing your pay information online), please complete the employer’s Phoenix Feedback Form.

3. I have accepted a promotion and/or transferred departments months ago, but my union dues haven’t changed. Why not?

PSAC receives information about our members’ employing department and classification from the employer as part of the dues process. The employer must fully complete the promotion process and/or transferring the pay profile.

PSAC is aware that given the ongoing situation with Phoenix, the compensation community is facing considerable backlogs in its work, including processing promotions and inter-departmental transfers.

Once a promotion process has been completed, PSAC will receive the information it needs to recalculate your union dues based on the 1st step salary of your new classification.

Once a transfer process has been completed, PSAC will receive the information it needs to also transfer the member from one local or Component to another.

This will prompt an evaluation of union dues as there might be a change in classification and/or component/local dues amount to be paid, and more importantly, it will ensure that members appear on the correct component/local monthly membership list.

4. I believe I should be paying union dues, but I don’t think I am. What do I do? 

A compensation advisor will manually start the dues in your pay profile and then will advise PSAC, in writing, of the period when no dues were deducted. PSAC will determine if arrears are owed and how much. Compensation advisors have been instructed to not start deducting arrears without PSAC’s approval. PSAC will calculate the amount owing and will advise the employer accordingly. Arrears will start to be deducted from your pay from that point on.

Members who are working in PSAC-represented positions and not paying union dues are asked to submit an online form to the employer or call the Client Contact Centre at 1-855-686-4729 (506-424-4330 if you are outside Canada and the United States) to speak to an agent. Find out more information on how to advise your employer of an incorrect pay.

5. Can I pay my arrears in a lump sum?

PSAC requires its members to pay their arrears through the employer’s pay system. This allows for arrears to be correctly reflected on our members’ T4 slips. It also avoids any potential doubling of efforts. A compensation advisor, unaware that arrears are paid via cheque directly to PSAC, may inadvertently try to collect the unpaid dues a second time through deductions on your pay.

6. Why am I paying a different amount than my colleagues?

As the amount in monthly union dues can vary greatly from one member to another, PSAC has provided guidance to compensation advisors to start the union dues at a default amount which varies depending on a variety of factors, and could be $40/month, $75/month or $25/month (half of each amount per pay This is an interim amount to be paid until such time as your correct dues have been calculated by PSAC.   

To do this, PSAC receives information from your employer that will allow it to determine the amount in union dues you should be paying. This is based on the 1st step salary of your classification and the various dues rates set at your local, component and PSAC level. If the information provided by your employer to PSAC is insufficient (for example, the employer does not provide your classification), it is impossible for PSAC to determine your dues. Your dues may remain at the default amount for longer than necessary until all the information is received. 

Your union dues are also attached to PSAC’S political structure. You need to be allocated to your correct component and local in order to pay correct dues. This may take anywhere from one to several months depending on several factors. Normally, the correction from the default amount to your correct amount is completed within three months. 

7. I am seeing two union dues deductions on my pay. Am I paying to two unions simultaneously?

While represented employees are only supposed to pay union dues to the union that is actively representing them, it is possible under certain circumstances, that there is an overlap and dues are paid to two different unions at the same time.

Scenario 1: A member has accepted a new assignment that is represented by another union. It is possible that the ending of dues from the original union and the start of the dues to the new union isn’t timed correctly, and as such, dues are being deducted for both unions for the same month (or for a few months). In this event, a compensation advisor will seek an authorization from the original union to refund the dues for the period where dues should not have been deducted in the first place.

Scenario 2: A member worked in a PSAC-represented position for six months in 2017 but did not pay union dues. The member has since begun working in a position that is represented by another union. The two deductions could be an arrears payment to PSAC for the six-month period missed in 2017 and the current dues being paid to the other union.

If neither of these examples answers the concern, members who are paying to two bargaining agents are asked to submit an online form to the employer or call the Client Contact Centre at 1-855-686-4729 (506-424-4330 if you are outside Canada and the United States) to speak to an agent. Find out more information on how to advise your employer of an incorrect pay.

8. I completed PSAC’s “Application for Membership” but I haven’t received my new union card. My local representative told me that I’m not in PSAC’s database. How can that be?

PSAC populates its membership database with the information it receives from employers. All dues paying members are added into PSAC’s database. If a member is not on the database, it is likely that no union dues are being deducted by the employer.

Members who are working in represented positions and not paying union dues asked to submit an online form to the employer or call the Client Contact Centre at 1-855-686-4729 (506-424-4330 if you are outside Canada and the United States) to speak to an agent. Find out more information on how to advise your employer of an incorrect pay.

A compensation advisor will manually start the dues in the member’s pay profile and then will advise PSAC, in writing, of the length of time when no dues were paid. A compensation advisor has been instructed to not start deducting the back dues that are owed by the member without PSAC’s approval. PSAC will calculate the amount owing and will advise the Pay Centre accordingly. Deductions will start from that point on.

PSAC has a long-standing internal policy to not recover more than the equivalent of one year’s worth of union dues per recoverable period. PSAC does not recover its arrears in a lump sum if the total amount owing is more than the equivalent of one month’s dues.

9. I was a Member in Good Standing of PSAC but my union dues have stopped. I have submitted a Pay Action Request (PAR) but while I wait for it to be actioned, I am concerned my membership has lapsed. What can I do?

In light of these special circumstances, PSAC has developed an online Membership in Good Standing Request form. Affected members are asked to submit a request in order to maintain their membership in good standing until the Phoenix pay system has reinstated payment of your union dues.

Members can follow up on the status of their PAR by calling the Client Contact Centre at 1-855-686-4729 (506-424-4330 if you are outside Canada and the United States) to speak to an agent.

10. As a member of the core public service, how do I determine my correct amount in union dues?

Union dues are based on the 1st step salary of your classification as found in your collective agreement. Since May 2021, the PSAC utilizes the salaries as found in your most recent collective agreement. This change is NOT retroactive. 

AS-01 salary in the PA Table agreement of the collective agreement. Currently the PSAC is still utilizing the 2020 salary of $54,878 to determine union dues. Since May 2021, it utilizes the correct salary of $54,878 which is the 1st step salary associated with the effective period of pay for our members. 

AS: Administrative Services Group Annual Rates of Pay (in dollars)
Table Legend
$) Effective June 21, 2017
A) Effective June 21, 2018*
B) Effective June 21, 2019*
C) Effective June 21, 2020


AS-1 Annual Rates of Pay (in dollars)
Effective Date Step1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
$) June 21, 2017 51,538 53,498 55,530 57,643
A) June 21, 2018* 52,981 54,996 57,085 59,257
B) June 21, 2019* 54,147 56,206 58,341 60,561
C) June 21, 2020 54, 878 56,965 59,129 61,379

Union dues are based on rates established at the Local, Component and PSAC levels. The PSAC and Component rates are listed below. Your local executives can provide you with the most current local rate. Where a flat rate is indicated, it is per member per month. 

PSAC 0.9593% + 1

Assume you are a AS-01 with the Government Services Union. The combination of PSAC and GSU rates are 0.9593% + 0.615% for a total of 1.5743% + $1.00 (for the PSAC Strike Fund). 
Since May 2021: 
AS-01 earning 1st step salary of $54,878 x 1.5743% = $863.94 in dues for 12 months. 
$863.94 divided by 12 months = $72.00 per month plus $1.00 per member per month = $73.00 

If the local to which you belong to has a rate, the final amount will vary by the local rate. 
Assume you are a PM-03 with The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees. The combination of the PSAC and UCTE rates is 0.9593% + 0.7344% for a total 1.6937% + $1 (PSAC Strike Fund). The same formula as above is applied.


February 1, 2020