Spanning both traditional and digital media, this campaign raised public awareness about the Phoenix disaster’s continuous impact on Canadian workers and their families. It showcased the incredible dedication of public service workers and led to a commitment from the federal government to replace Phoenix.Portfolio View
Since 2016, the Phoenix payroll system disaster has impacted over 200,000 federal employees, many of whom are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, one of Canada’s largest unions. Some workers have not been paid properly; others have gone unpaid for months at a time. Many have experienced debt, loss, bankruptcy—even homelessness. In 2018, we were hired by PSAC to develop a national, bilingual campaign that brought the impact of the Phoenix payroll disaster to the attention of Canadians and push for a resolution once and for all.
PSAC’s membership wanted Canadians to know about their plight and lend support for a resolution. However, they were tired of feeling like victims and didn’t want to be portrayed as such.
After discussions with the client and a review of their public opinion research, two things became clear. First, PSAC members continued to show up to work day after day, despite the pay issues they were experiencing. Second, knowing about the workers’ dedication made Canadians more likely to be supportive of public service workers.
The Here for Canada campaign leveraged these angles to reframe PSAC members’ commitment to their work as a heroic act of loyalty to Canadians. Thus, this campaign became an opportunity to not only raise awareness around the Phoenix issue, but also counter negative stereotypes about public service workers by showing their dedication, grit and determination in the face of Phoenix.
During the Here for Canada campaign, the federal government publicly committed to replacing the Phoenix payroll system.
While we can’t share specifics due to confidentiality, we can say that PSAC members retained a high level of confidence in PSAC at a time when we would have otherwise expected a significant dip.
Members of the public who saw the ad had increased positive perception of PSAC and public service workers.