Aaron Bedard, one of the plaintiffs in the Equitas Society’s class-action lawsuit, participated in the society’s Inaugural Walk For Veterans in Burnaby in October 2017. (File photo)

Aaron Bedard, one of the plaintiffs in the Equitas Society’s class-action lawsuit, participated in the society’s Inaugural Walk For Veterans in Burnaby in October 2017. (File photo)

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear B.C. veterans’ lawsuit on pensions

Decision rejects argument of ‘duty of care’ for disabled veterans

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the White Rock-based Equitas Society’s bid to pursue an appeal for its class-action lawsuit on behalf of disabled Canadian Armed Forces veterans.

READ MORE: Veterans take pension appeal to Canada’s top court

In a judgment issued early Thursday morning, the court said it would not hear the appeal of six veterans suing the Government of Canada – on behalf of thousands of others – for a reinstatement of full lifetime disability pensions.

“It’s not much to read, it simply says dismissed,” Equitas president Marc Burchell told Peace Arch News shortly after the judgment’s release.

The decision effectively quashes Equitas’s argument that Canada owes a “duty of care” to all veterans disabled in the service of the country

Burchell said, however, that it hasn’t quashed Equitas’s efforts.

“It’s the end of the road for the court case, but of course, we’ve had a Plan A and a Plan B and a Plan C,” he said.

Burchell described the federal Conservatives’ recent passing of a policy resolution “recognizing a military covenant between the people of Canada and its military” as “a very big step.”

He also pointed to the society’s creation of a Canadian Walk for Veterans as a positive.

It “was intended to unite the entire veteran community in Canada and bring them together to speak with one voice, and bring regular Canadian citizens in on the conversation,” Burchell said.

“So even though the court case is over, our advocacy doesn’t end. Matter of fact, it simply intensifies now.”

The organization has been battling Ottawa since the Harper Government replaced the Pension Act – which had given veterans disability pensions since 1919, just after the First World War – with its New Veteran’s Charter in 2006.

This instituted lump-sum payments that many disabled veterans have since claimed have left them considerably worse off – and minus a dependable month-to-month income supplement.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to reinstate the pensions in 2015, and the House of Commons the same year unanimously passed a motion calling for a moral “covenant” to provide compensation and support services to disabled veterans, no legislation was introduced.

Lawyers for the federal Justice Department continued to argue that Canada owed “no duty of care” to the veterans and in December of 2017 the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the veterans’ class-action on the basis that it could only enforce actual legislation.

More to come…

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Chemainus Art Group creates mural mosaic to celebrate a joyful spring. (Photo submitted)
Art group members celebrate a joyful spring in Chemainus

Each of 33 squares pushed together into one mural

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ district administration centre. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district gets started on new budget amid unknowns

Ministry’s per-student funding increase doesn’t fully cover pay raises for teachers and support staff

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Transfer Beach Dippers have been taking to the waters of Transfer Beach as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)
‘Transfer Beach Dippers’ group finds community in the cold water

Dippers tend to dip at 6am, 8:45am, or 6pm at Transfer Beach

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read