Federal Court Rules in Wounded Veterans Class Action

Justice Robert Barnes of the Federal Court released his decision this week in Manuge v. Canada (2012 FC 499), holding that veterans should not have their Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits reduced by the amount of the monthly Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Disability Pension they receive under the Pension Act.

The practical consequence of the claimed offset is to substantially reduce or to extinguish the LTD coverage promised to members of the Class by the SISIP Policy with particularly harsh effect on the most seriously disabled CF members who have been released from active service.  That is an outcome that could not reasonably have been intended and I reject it unreservedly, Justice Barnes wrote.

Lead plaintiff, Dennis Manuge, represented a class of approximately 4,500 former members of the Canadian Forces. The action was launched in March, 2007.

Peter Driscoll of McInness Cooper, who was lead counsel for the veterans, told the Globe and Mail that he and the class members were overjoyed at the decision and urged the federal government not to appeal. He estimated it would cost around $270 million to $340 million for the government to stop the clawbacks and reimburse his clients.

In the April issue of Lexpert, Donald Sorochan of Miller Thomson LLP spoke about mounting a constitutional challenge to the way the Federal Government compensates wounded soldiers. The rules changed in 2006,  when soldiers wounded after that time began receiving only lump-sum payments, not monthly payments for life. He said that lawyers across the country are still determining how to frame the case, which will be a class action. The firm is acting on a pro bono basis.

One comment on “Federal Court Rules in Wounded Veterans Class Action

  1. Lulaine @ RD Legal Funding
    May 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    It’s always good to see a veteran get what they deserve. For people who have fought hard to protect and defend their country this victory is well deserved. I’m sure the veterans would have rather settled this matter behind closed doors but sometimes going to court is the only way thins will get accomplished.

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