#164 – Paid in Feels

The federal government has been doing a shit job of dealing with paying employees for a hilarious number of reasons. Federal prison guards braced for failure as their pay system shifts onto a government office in New Brunswick that has already pled for mercy. Members of the Coast Guard have found themselves coming home to cut utilities and urgent fuck-you-pay-us notices as their pay became a veritable Nor’easter of bullshit. Reliable pay? Fuck no – you’re paid in feels, you useless cretins!

Bitching about bureaucracy is easy, but the sheer magnitude of stupidity associated with pay can’t be making their lives any easier. Workers have a right to expect that the pay they agreed to will arrive at a regular time and in an easily-accessed form. We all make financial decisions with future income in mind; indeed, we’re punished with overdraft fees, bad credit scores, and all sorts of frustrations if we aren’t able to keep up with our expenses. So how fair is it that someone working for the government finds themselves on the sharp end of the Canadian banks’ bullshit stick.

Consider this readily-plausible scenario: a single-income family makes its required income through the Coast Guard. The breadwinner gets sent to a posting and writes out checks for the family’s utility and other bills. There’s not enough in the account now to do job, but with incoming paychecks this arrangement is doable. All is well, all is good.

And then the checks don’t come in. Panicked calls become emergency loans with high interest rates and other debt traps; bounced checks add even more financial strain on the family. Word gets around the posting that others aren’t getting paid. Can you imagine what that would do to your mental health and to the cohesion of the workplace? It doesn’t matter if you think bureaucrats are poopieheads – there is a basic obligation which was not met by the Canadian government and its consequences are fucking with the fundamentals of peoples’ lives. The irony of Canada’s civil service making the mental health of employees a stated priority while it continues forward with a system that so obviously causes harm is somewhere between predictable and obscene.

The story here is very simple – for once the government found a problem and made a plan to fix it. The only problem there was the tiny point where they caused exactly the failure in the pay system that they warned about. Oh, and pro-tip: when the people you’re trusting with paying a crucial part of your government have a website that looks like it came straight from 2004 it might be a bit of a red flag.

Bad website design you can believe in

At any rate, Canadians are suffering at the hands of our government and the way that our social order is structured means that a loss of pay entirely unrelated to their performance compounds suffering and stress during the reign of a government that says that it really cares about civil servants. The workers in Miramichi are stressed, the employees not getting paid are stressed, and inevitably quality of service (such as it is) will plummet even further.

And in the face of the complaints, the difficulties, the clear and obvious failure of Public Works to properly staff with trained people (I suspect that a lot of new folks are at the helm; it would cost a hell of a lot to convince me to live in a tiny shit-shack town in the middle of buttfuck nowhere) – with all that on board, what’s the plan? Why, expanding the program that workers are begging you not to! Because Canada’s government stands with its employees, at least until they demand their pay.

And as for civil servants, well, they can get fucked. Who needs a paycheck – isn’t the joy and satisfaction of living in Canada enough?


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