PSAC files policy grievances over Phoenix overpayments recovery

PSAC has filed policy grievances challenging the government’s unilateral recovery of Phoenix overpayments without notice on behalf of PSAC members working for Treasury Board, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Parks Canada.  

The Public Service Pay Centre has been clawing back outstanding overpayments of $250 or less (less than 10% of gross bi-weekly pay) dating back to 2018 from PSAC members’ paycheques without notifying impacted members, without providing them with details of the alleged overpayment, and without an opportunity to contest the validity of the overpayment, or flexibility to repay.   

Nearly 1,000 federal public service workers were impacted by these overpayment recoveries. 

Automatically recovering overpayments in this manner is arbitrary, unreasonable, may constitute bad faith and violates members’ collective agreement rights. Members deserve to know when recoveries of outstanding overpayments may occur on their pay and have the right to verify and validate these amounts prior to recovery.   

It’s expected that the Pay Centre also plans to recover outstanding overpayments from 2019 and 2020 in the coming months.  

In summary, the PSAC’s policy grievance seeks several corrective actions, including: 

  • Reimbursement for affected members for any amounts recovered by this process; 
  • For the employer to be restricted from recovering any overpayments without prior notice to workers; 
  • That all employees receive overpayment letters detailing the alleged outstanding overpayment(s) a minimum of 60 days prior to any planned recovery; 
  • That the employer provide sufficient information to understand and calculate the overpayment recovery upon request; 
  • That the employer pay damages to affected employees and to make them whole. 

Next steps 

While the grievances are processed, PSAC will continue to help members affected by Phoenix pay issues, including overpayment issues. If you received a Phoenix overpayment letter, please refer to our specific recommendations on how to proceed. 

If you have any concerns or require assistance, please contact PSAC’s Phoenix help team by selecting "Phoenix – Overpayment" from the "What is your inquiry about" dropdown menu. 


October 30, 2023