KAWARTHA The federal government has been ordered to pay veterans more than $800,000,000 to settle a class action lawsuit regarding pension payment errors.
The court decision was released on January 17th. The Final Settlement Agreement addresses an alleged miscalculation and resulting underpayment of disability pension benefits for members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their spouses, common-law partners, dependents, survivors, or estates.
In 2018, the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) acknowledged a miscalculation of the provincial tax credits to the wage rate that resulted in lower payments to eligible recipients of certain pension benefits. The total amount of the underpayment at that time was estimated at $165 million. VAC allocated $165 million to make
“Corrective Payments”; approximately half of these payments have been distributed since 2018 according to court documents.
Other errors were subsequently discovered by Class Counsel. The settlement addresses the impact of the additional errors and the interest on the Corrective Payments dating back to 2002.
The recent settlement has a total value of up to $817,300,000 and will be paid out to more than 330,000 vets, some of them local.
“More than 300,000 veterans and their families will benefit from this court judgment. The underpayment occurred over a period of many years and this is a fair way of compensating families for the faulty formula. Bravo to Dennis Manuge and other veterans who brought this to light.” said Bill Steedman a retired Canadian Forces veteran and past President of the Peterborough Chapter of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping. “Families of veterans who were killed in action will also benefit and this is very dear to my heart.”
Dennis Mangue is one of the veterans who originally filed the claim against the government.
According to court documents, Manuge is a resident of Nova Scotia and former member of the CAF. Mr. Manuge served from August 1994 until his discharge in December 2002 due to medical conditions suffered while in the CAF. As a result, Mr. Manuge could no longer meet all the occupational requirements of service. He has received a monthly disability pension since 2002.
Five others are described below:
Raymond Toth is an Ontario resident. He served in the CAF until his discharge in 2007. He could no longer meet all the occupational requirements due to injuries sustained during his service in the CAF. He has received a monthly disability pension since February 2004.
Betty Brousse is an Ontario resident. Ms. Brousse served in the CAF for 27 years and retired in 2001. She has received a monthly disability pension since October 2000.
Brenton MacDonald is an Ontario resident and former member of the RCMP. MacDonald retired in April 2004 after 38 years of service. His career with the RCMP included a role in the Compensation Branch, where he was engaged in pensions, benefits, and compensation issues. He has received a monthly disability pension since April 2004.
Jean-Francois Pelletier is a Nova Scotia resident. He served in the CAF in the Royal Navy from 1986 to 2005. He has received a monthly disability pension since 2002.
David White is a Nova Scotia resident. He was a member of the RCMP from 1973 to 2002. He retired due to a medical disability resulting from an injury sustained while on duty. Mr. White has received a monthly disability pension since August 2002.
In early 2019, the Plaintiffs, individually through their lawyers commenced four separate but similar class proceedings. They all alleged that their annual disability pension had been miscalculated and sought damages and/or restitution. Their lawyers entered into an agreement to work together and the Court ordered that the four claims be consolidated, and stayed a fifth competing claim.
According to the judgement, the breakdown of possible eligible payments means the median Class Member would receive approximately $1,258.75 less the court-approved costs. The mean Class Member would receive approximately $2,455.53 less court-approved costs. Mr. Beck further explains that the majority of the eligible payments are less than $5,000. Only 40 eligible payments exceed $35,000.
No timeline for the payments has been released.
Here is a link to the full decision:https://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/524785/index.do?fbclid=IwAR2Nc2RGw8xZFAtAcLmvFGJXWN36V_zSAdnxYjgvYl-Ytc_gig8L3inTAQk