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.

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

Just Posted

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Nuxalk Nation receives over $4 million in funding for Big House

The funding is joint federal, provincial and municipal and will support 24 infrastructure projects

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read