Some federal election workers still waiting for paycheques

·2 min read
Workers count ballots on election night at Elections Canada's distribution centre in Ottawa. More than two months after Canadians went to the polls, some elections workers say they still haven't received their paycheques. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press - image credit)
Workers count ballots on election night at Elections Canada's distribution centre in Ottawa. More than two months after Canadians went to the polls, some elections workers say they still haven't received their paycheques. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press - image credit)

Some Elections Canada workers say they still haven't been paid in full for their work in the 2021 election, more than two months after voters went to the polls.

Martin Meredith, a retiree in Oshawa, Ont., said this is the second time he's had to wait weeks for Elections Canada to pay money it owed him for work at an advanced polling station.

Back in 2019, Meredith said he wasn't paid for three months.

"Unless something is addressed, I won't do it again. I will not wait for three months to be paid," he said.

Meredith said he was paid $17 an hour this year, on time, for three hours of training and four hours of ballot counting. But Elections Canada hasn't paid him for the 54 hours he worked over four days of advance polling, he said.

"It was extremely busy. It was no breaks for four days," Meredith said. "The people coming into vote were wonderful. There was a lineup from nine-to-nine every single day."

Despite a local election official acknowledging the mistake, Meredith said he hasn't been able to get any answers about the eight-week delay or when he'll be paid.

"It just causes frustration when you don't know what's going on," he said.

WATCH | 'That money makes a big difference:' Election worker says he still hasn't been paid

Overtime rate added 'complication'

Matthew McKenna, an Elections Canada spokesperson, said the "vast majority" of the 215,000 people who worked in the 2021 election were paid within six weeks as promised.

"I certainly don't think it's a systemic problem," McKenna said. "We're definitely apologetic. I know especially this time of year, having that little bit of extra security is important to everybody."

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

McKenna said between the 2019 and 2021 elections the federal agency did add overtime pay to its tariff of fees, whereas before workers were paid a flat rate for each hour they worked.

That's added "a layer of complication" when it comes to processing paycheques, he said.

McKenna said there's a payment inquiry line on Elections Canada's website where people can raise pay issues, adding that any issues are exceptions that come with the scale of the cross-country operation and with paying temporary workers for a short time.

Elections Canada didn't provide statistics on outstanding payment complaints.

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