Tuesday, April 29, 2014
'Dismissing the Knock at the Door'
lawsuit to benefit 14,000 vets, but Charter still flawed
Submitted by Claude LaTulippe, Chilliwack
Driscoll and Daniel Wallace from the firm of McInnis Cooper have done an
admirable job in this class action (see release below). Denis Manuge must be
commended for sticking up for what he believed to be wrong.
He went through hell navigating the
political and government corridors to a point where he was on the
verge of quitting and succumbed to the lack of sensitivity of our
government and its bureaucracy. It is deplorable that a veteran has
to resort to the Justice Department to get any resolve on unjust and
In a way we, veterans, must bear some of the blame. Our national
representation is fragmented. We do not and never had a single body
to argue and engage on our behalf. The New Veterans Charter (NVC) is
a prime example. Had we been given a chance to sit at the table when
the NVC was put together pre 2005, I can guarantee that its present
form would be very different.
Same with the integration of the CPP with the CFSA in 1965. Had the
military been adequately represented, it would never had been
enacted in its present form. Now we are stuck with the controversial
issue of the pension clawback when a veteran gets to 65 years of
These issues are severely affecting veterans, yet our government
keeps dismissing the knock on the door hoping that whoever it is
goes away. It did not happened with Denis Manuge. He should get a
medal for his courage and dedication. A wrong was righted and it
does not have anything to do with the goodwill of our current
So where does that leave current and future veterans? Are we to
march again to be heard? Why can't our current military leaders
stand up for its retired soldiers?
Next election veterans will remember.
Proposed resolution of final SISIP class action issue
could benefit 14,000 disabled Canadian Forces veterans
Additional $35 million added to resolve the Cost
of Living Allowance dispute
SISIP class action lawsuit could benefit thousands more disabled
Canadian Forces veterans after the tentative settlement of the one
remaining issue—the Government of Canada's calculation of Cost
of Living Allowance increases. The proposed settlement, which
requires approval by the Federal Court of Canada, is projected to
result in an additional $35 million in benefits to the class
The SISIP class action was initiated in March 2007 on behalf of
representative plaintiff Dennis Manuge and all other disabled
Canadian Forces veterans whose Service Income Security Insurance
Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits were reduced by the
amount of their monthly Veterans Affairs Canada disability pension.
On May 1, 2012, the Federal Court ruled that this benefit reduction
was not permitted by the terms of the Policy. Following the
decision, the class and the federal government entered into
On April 4, 2013, the Federal Court approved an agreement between
the class and the federal government, which ended the reduction
going forward and provided, among other things, a refund for past
reductions plus interest. The estimated total value of the
settlement approved in April 2013 was $887.8 million.
During negotiations between the class and the federal government,
class lawyers with McInnes Cooper identified an issue with the
calculation of annual Cost of Living Allowance increases. It was
agreed in the April 2013 settlement that the Cost of Living
Allowance issue would be resolved at a later date, either by
settlement or a Court decision.
The proposed settlement to resolve the improper calculation of
annual Cost of Living Allowance increase is projected to result in
an additional $35 million in benefits to the class.
Along with the proposed financial settlement, the class will expand
from the original 8,000 members to 14,000 members. The additional
6,000 class members are disabled Canadian Forces veterans who
receive long term disability benefits, but those benefits had not
been reduced by a Veterans Affairs Canada benefit.
"I'm pleased that this final issue has been resolved and disabled
members will receive some added assistance as a result of this
case," said Manuge. "McInnes Cooper has continued to look out for
us, disabled Canadian Forces veterans, right down to checking what
should be straight forward math."
As a result of the proposed settlement, class members will receive
74% of the benefits that they would have received if, following
legal proceedings, the Federal Court decided to apply McInnes
Cooper's interpretation, plus reasonable interest rates. The
settlement provides a refund back to the inception of the SISIP LTD
Policy in 1971.
The class is represented by Peter Driscoll and Daniel Wallace of
McInnes Cooper and Ward Branch of Branch MacMaster.
"From the outset of the SISIP class-action our legal team said that
we will leave no vet behind and we are committed to seeing that
through," said Wallace. "We continue to review all elements related
to SISIP to ensure Canadian Forces veterans receive what they
Class counsel has requested that the April 2013 Federal Court
approved legal fees of 8% also be applied to this most recent
The form of settlement notice will be sent to the class members for
their review and materials also will be available on
The settlement approval hearing is scheduled to be heard in the
Federal Court in Halifax on June 20, 2014.
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