Update on Phoenix damages implementation

July 6, 2021

Current PSAC members working for the federal public service received general damages as part of their March 3 pay. However, several issues remain outstanding: 

  • former PSAC members — including retirees — are still waiting for their general damages payments 

  • current and former members who experienced out-of-pocket expenses or severe losses due to Phoenix are still waiting for the launch of a new claims process 

  • the Canada Revenue Agency’s decision to tax the general damages payment 

General damages for former and retired PSAC members 

Despite requests to accelerate the delivery of general damages payments for former and retired members, the government has set out to make the process available by the fall of 2021. We are disappointed by this lengthy implementation period. However, following pressure by the union, the government has indicated that eligible former members will be provided a more precise timeline for when they will be able to apply for damages payments by the end of July. We will update you at that time.  

The government has also updated its general damages webpage so that former members can access forms and resources specific to PSAC members. Previously, former members reported receiving incorrect information, intended for members of other unions, via the government’s website.  

Out-of-pocket expenses and severe losses 

As part of the Phoenix damages settlement, the government must provide a new claims process for current and former members who experienced out-of-pocket expenses and severe personal and financial impacts due to Phoenix. The government has also targeted fall 2021 as the deadline to finalize the process and make it available to members. At PSAC’s urging for more clarity on timelines, the employer has agreed to provide a more detailed timeline by the end of July. We will update you at that time. 

Taxability of Phoenix general damages 

PSAC maintains that general damages paid to all employees for “stress, aggravation, and pain and suffering” and for the late implementation of collective agreements are non-taxable. We continue to explore all legal avenues to reverse CRA’s decision to tax general damages paid to members and will provide updates as they become available.  

Please be sure to keep your contact information up to date via the member portal to receive all the latest updates on PSAC’s Phoenix settlement. 

For more information about Phoenix damages, please check out our FAQ.