A growing number of current and retired public servants are speaking out about unpaid benefits claims after the federal government switched insurance providers two months ago.
Around 1.5 million federal employees under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) were moved from Sun Life Financial to Canada Life Assurance Company on July 1.
But since then, dozens of individuals told CTV National News that claims aren’t being processed and their calls are going unanswered after call centres were reportedly overwhelmed by the number of people phoning the insurance company.
“Since Canada Life has had that contract, there has been nothing but problems, including onboarding people,” said Chris Aylward, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). “[The federal government] didn’t do it right, and now members are suffering.”
PSAC is one of Canada's largest national labour unions and the largest union in the federal public sector.
The Treasury Board has said the wait times and delays were unacceptable and urged Canada Life to improve its service.
“We believe that Canada Life should take further immediate steps to address the continued challenges that claimants are facing in reaching a call centre agent,” said a Treasury Board spokesperson.
Canada Life said it has begun taking action on massive call volumes and said normal wait times would return in a few weeks.
It added that its teams were answering some 25,000 contacts per week.
“We appreciate the patience of public service plan members who are reaching out to us,” said Kim Foregtta, a Canada Life spokesperson, in an email to CTV National News.
The company also addressed the issue through its website, stating they are taking steps to address the delays, such as increasing the staff in the PSHCP Member Contact Centre, temporarily extending operating hours, and accelerating the process of enrolment to make it easier for members to access benefits coverage and have their claim processed quickly.
“A sincere thank you to all plan members for your continued patience as we complete this transition. We appreciate your patience during this period, and we’re committed to getting things right,” the website statement said.