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

Vernon rink into win column at BC Senior Curling finals

Vernon Curling Club hosting the province’s top senior curlers; finals set for Sunday at 10 a.m.

Vernon bowlers dominate zones at home

Five teams from Lincoln Lanes advance to provincial YBC finals in Vernon/Kelowna

Vernon sewing instructor teaches flawless fitting

Clothes for real curves made possible with Dawne Whelpley’s workshops

Vernon-area duo still awaiting trial for animal abuse

Trial date expected to be set within the next three weeks

Vernon woman named one of B.C.’s Top 40 business leaders

Amanda Shatzko, consultant and politician, picked up Business in Vancouver Top 40 selection

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

Most Read