Parliamentary Report Backs Union's Feedback on PSHCP Changes

A recent report of the Standing (Parliamentary) Committee on Government Operations has produced nine recommendations that echo comments from union and retiree representatives on changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan and plan governance. 

The report aligns closely with PIPSC's feedback and highlights several critical issues, that we have broken down to seven themes:

  1. Opaque Procurement and Contract Enforcement: The report criticizes the lack of union or member involvement in procurement and contract enforcement processes, reflecting widespread dissatisfaction with the transparency and accountability of these procedures, as well as the government's ability to fully enforce the spirit of the contract’s provisions.
  2. Excessive Leeway to Plan Administrators: The committee flagged the excessive leeway given to plan administrators during the transition period, which permitted the plan administrator, Canada Life, to deliver poor service without consequences.
  3. Inadequate Provisions for Members with Serious Health Conditions: The dramatic changes to physiotherapy coverage, which failed to consider members with chronic and severe health conditions, was flagged as an item that should be revisited so that public service workers have sufficient access to physiotherapy treatment.
  4. Insufficient Preparation and Communication: The need for thorough preparation and a robust communications plan to educate plan members about changes was emphasized. The lack of clear information contributed to widespread confusion and frustration.
  1. Compensation for Damages: The report calls for compensation for damages suffered by plan members during the botched handover, recognizing the financial and health-related hardships caused by the transition to Canada Life.
  1. Service Standards: The report stresses the importance of establishing more comprehensive service standards for key aspects of the plan, such as prior authorization processes, to ensure timely and accurate claims processing as well as to hold Canada Life accountable for excessive delays in service delivery for these items.
  1. Support for French-speaking Members: Ensuring that the plan administrator can provide services in French at standards comparable to those in English was identified as a critical need.


This damning report will be passed on to senior bureaucrats as a strong recommendation on how to best handle the current situation and for consideration in future plans. It is not binding, but rather, advisory. PIPSC believes this provides an opportunity for the Treasury Board to address the botched handover and our outstanding policy grievance for compensation due to the Canada Life handover fiasco.

The Public Service Health Care Plan is an employer-paid private health plan covering most PIPSC members and retirees working in the Core Public Administration and at most separate employers. 

A full copy of the report can be found online.