Feds sued for short-changing disabled veterans and alleged cover-up

Lawsuit follows error government admits making in 2002

The federal government knowingly short-changed hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans and RCMP members about $165 million in benefits, a proposed class action filed in Federal Court on Friday asserts.

The unproven claim, which seeks $600 million in damages, accuses the government of negligence and breach of contract among other things. It also wants the court to order the government to pay the owed benefits with interest.

“Canada’s calculation error has resulted in loss to vulnerable eligible members who rely on benefits to survive,” the suit alleges. “Canada has known about the calculation error for years but it has not taken appropriate steps to rectify its conduct.”

The lawsuit, which has yet to be certified as a class action, follows a calculation error the government admits making in 2002. As a result, as many as 270,000 veterans and others receiving a disability pension or benefits were shortchanged until 2010, when the mistake was discovered.

READ MORE: Feds promise $165 million in compensation after shortchanging 270,000 veterans

However, according to the statement of claim, Ottawa allegedly hid the error until this past November — disclosing it only after veterans ombudsman Guy Parent said his team had stumbled upon the problem while looking at another issue and flagged it to the government.

“In 2010, the defendant discovered the calculation error (but) failed to announce this error,” the claim asserts. “The defendant chose not to disclose or rectify the error.”

In a statement, Veterans Affairs Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she was committed to ensuring those affected would receive their rightful entitlement.

“When the ombudsman brought this to our attention in 2018, we did a detailed review and worked to secure up to $165 million for those retroactive payments,” Wilson-Raybould said Friday. She said she could not comment further given the legal action.

As many as 120,000 people affected may have died without receiving any of the owed money. The government has said their estates would be entitled to the backpay.

The proposed representative plaintiff is Jean-Francois Pelletier, of Dartmouth, N.S., who served with the navy from 1986 to 2005 and was deployed to the Gulf region in 2002, according to the court filing. Pelletier had injured his foot early in his career and he was ultimately given a monthly, indexed disability pension of about $2,000.

Last week, a Calgary-based law firm filed a similar claim in Federal Court on behalf of another former soldier, CBC News reported.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Four weather extremes in just six months a cause for concern

Global warming contributing to the full gamut of conditions

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Most Read