Calgary student puts education on hold due to Phoenix pay system woes
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, January 24, 2017 9:24PM EST
A Calgary student is speaking out about having to defer her university studies after she says the federal government shortchanged her thousands of dollars in unpaid salary.
As of earlier this month, 8,000 federal employees still had issues with the Phoenix pay system.
Sydney Kallio spent four months this summer working for Parks Canada at Waterton Lakes National Park as a way to cover school costs.
"It's a beautiful place to work and to live," she told CTV Calgary. "I loved it, it was the dream job."
But she says the ongoing problems plaguing the federal government's pay system has left her short $6,000 and caused her to defer a university semester.
"I wanted to go back to school but I didn't think it was fair with owing my parents money and not having enough to live on my own," she said.
Kallio signed a four-month contract with Parks Canada, working 40 hours a week for $17.83 an hour.
However, she found she was underpaid by roughly $5 an hour and only listed as working 32 hours a week when she received her first paycheque, which was six weeks late. Coworkers were similarly underpaid.
"Every single one of those students were missing those cheques," she said.
When she questioned bosses about her paycheck, she was told to contact a help line.
"They had no access to any of our personal information," she said about the help line. "They were just there as a person to talk to and pass the message along."
Kallio says since sharing her story, a government representative reached out to promise that her back pay would be sorted out, but her co-workers have yet to be contacted.
Public Services and Procurement Canada says it will announce a status update on the backlog on Wednesday morning.
With a report from CTV Calgary's Bill Macfarlane