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

108 Mile Ranch Citizen of the Year announced

“I feel so honoured to be the recipient.”

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

Donna Barnett pushes for changes to adult adoption process

Barnett is speaking out on why British Columbia’s adoption laws should be reformed

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Most Read