Equitas B.C. Class Action Lawsuit

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Equitas B.C. Class Action Lawsuit

Post by Trooper on Mon 09 Oct 2017, 9:23 am

Don Sorochan Video Equitas Society

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The Equitas Society - Hardy Staub interview

Post by Accer on Tue 10 Oct 2017, 7:55 pm

The Equitas Society - Hardy Staub interview

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Disabled & Betrayed: Retired Major Mark Campbell Tells His Story

Post by Accer on Wed 11 Oct 2017, 3:51 pm

Disabled & Betrayed: Retired Major Mark Campbell Tells His Story

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Importance of benefits for Canadian Forces veterans

Post by Accer on Wed 11 Oct 2017, 4:11 pm

Importance of benefits for Canadian Forces veterans

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Equitas Society

Post by Accer on Sat 14 Oct 2017, 3:30 pm

Equitas Society

Listen to Matt Kane one of the Equtias Board members on CBC Radio One. Click on the link and go to the 2 hour and 31-minute mark to hear the interview which can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-early-edition/episode/13422686

Check out Equitas President talking about the court case and the Khadr payout https://omny.fm/shows/the-jon-mccomb-show/veterans-and-the-khadr-settlement
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Equitas Society

Post by Accer on Sat 14 Oct 2017, 3:40 pm

Equitas Society

See MP John Brassard question the Minister of Veterans Affairs on why the court case for a return to life long pensions is still continuing.
https://www.facebook.com/JohnBrassardCPC/videos/1040080832759210/?fref=mentions
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Equitas Society

Post by Accer on Sat 14 Oct 2017, 4:22 pm

Equitas Society

Power Play: Fight for Benefits complete interview with Don Sorochan, QC., Miller Thomson
http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/video?clipId=895787
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Canadian veterans fight to reinstate lifelong pensions

Post by Accer on Mon 16 Oct 2017, 11:24 am

Canadian veterans fight to reinstate lifelong pensions




The battle has gone all the way to the Supreme Court
KATYA SLEPIANSun Oct 15th, 2017 7:10pm

Burnaby’s Central Park was packed with people on Sunday morning, all there with one goal: to bring back lifelong pensions for veterans.

The event, the inaugural Walk for Veterans, was hosted by the Equitas Society.

Since its formation in 2012, the South Surrey-White Rock based group has been advocating for the cause through a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.

Video: http://streaming-colo.blackpress.ca:5080/live/streams/transcoded_vods/20171016015758-9900.mp4.mp4

The Pension Act, which guaranteed lifelong pensions for veterans, was replaced by the New Veterans Charter in 2006.

“It replaced [lifelong pensions] with lump sum payments that ended up being disproportionally lower,” said president Marc Burchell.

Burchell said that although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a pledge to reinstate the lifelong pensions, the lack of action has left veterans feeling betrayed.

“He has failed to keep that promise,” said Burchell.

Currently, the Canadian government is fighting the lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court of Appeals. If it fails to get the result it wants, it must take it to the country’s top court.

The lawsuit has six plaintiffs, including Coquitlam veteran Aaron Bedard.

Bedard served in Afghanistan as part of the first combat tour of Kandahar. He served for 10 years, from 2002-2010, despite a serious injury from going over an anti-tank mine just three months in.

“I hid my injuries and carried on with a traumatic brain injury and damage to my spine,” said Bedard. He returned to Canada in 2007 and was went to doctor to doctor, but received little help.

“I started developing post-traumatic stress disorder.”

It took three years before he was released from service but according to Bedard, much of the fight remained ahead.

“Dealing with Veterans Affairs Canada was immediately adversarial,” said Bedard. He learned that he would only be getting a lump sum, which in 2010 was only $250,000.

It’s a common thread, said Burchell, that’s not helped by what he calls Veteran Affairs’ “culture of denial.”

“These men and women come back from Afghanistan and a lot of them are suffering from PTSD,” said Burchell. “They’ve been fighting [for pensions] but it’s hard for the to fight when they’re suffering from this disability.”

To learn more about the Equitas Society, visit their website. http://www.equitassociety.ca/

http://www.saobserver.net/news/video-canadian-veterans-fight-to-reinstate-lifelong-pensions/
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Pension news expected by end of the year

Post by Trooper on Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:19 am

New Veterans Charter didn't account for the more modern Veterans' Says MP


Friday October 27, 2017

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Why is the Trudeau government fighting Stephen Harper’s battles?

Post by Accer on Fri 03 Nov 2017, 12:36 pm

Governing can be hard work.

Everything you say and do is dissected and critiqued by your opponents and the media and that can be extremely frustrating, I’m sure.

But every now and then, a government is tossed a softball that they can hit out of the park and gain some much needed adulation from the masses.

The Trudeau government has had two such chances in the last while and they swung and missed both times.

The first was when government lawyers asked to continue the legal action that argued that the federal government had no moral obligation for the well-being of Canadian veterans.

The second was this week, when another gaggle of federal lawyers went to court to keep confidential, documents from the Prime Minister’s Office dealing with the Duffy-Wallin senate expense scandal.

Both of these actions were initiated by the Harper government and both times, Justin Trudeau rightly lambasted the government and labelled these actions as undemocratic and insensitive.

Yet now that Trudeau is calling the shots from the corner office in the West Block, he is allowing federal lawyers to continue those battles.

It would have been an easy political win for Trudeau to halt both actions in the name of transparency and fairness.

The fact that he is allowing both actions to proceed is both puzzling and disturbing.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3841438/bill-kelly-why-is-the-trudeau-government-fighting-stephen-harpers-battles/
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Veteran pension lawsuit ‘isn’t going anywhere’

Post by Trooper on Tue 14 Nov 2017, 6:52 pm

November 9 2017

Listen: https://globalnews.ca/video/rd/1092248643567/

https://globalnews.ca/video/rd/1092240451978/

The Equitas Society says it’s in for the long-haul in its lawsuit against the Federal Government to reinstate the practice of lifelong pensions for injured veterans.

https://globalnews.ca/video/3852410/veteran-pension-lawsuit-isnt-going-anywhere
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Would a victory win on the side of the Equitas Law Suit guarantee the return of the Pension from the Pension Act?

Post by Trooper on Sun 19 Nov 2017, 9:41 am

The answer is no.

See highlighted in blue, para 8

We are writing to you because you have reached out to us in the past regarding your interest in being involved in or obtaining information about the class action lawsuit brought against the Government of Canada on behalf of Veterans who have been effected by decreased compensation under the New Veterans Charter.

As you may have heard in the media or through your friends and colleagues, there have been recent settlement negotiations with the Government on this lawsuit. As a result, we wanted to provide an update to as many Veterans as possible to properly inform everyone about what has occurred.

The first point we want to make clear is that the lawsuit has not settled. Earlier this year, following the appointment of Minister O’Toole, the government, and specifically representatives of the Minister, reached out to the representative plaintiffs and counsel on this lawsuit to see if the parties could work together to resolve the issues in this litigation. To that end, we have met with the government many times over the last several months and have expressed our concerns about the lack of benefits as well as problems in the culture at VAC, and shared our recommendations for further change.

As you may know, the Government has recently tabled legislation (Bill C-58) containing proposed reforms that will require legislative enactment. While these changes are not enough for the parties to agree to settle the lawsuit, we see these proposed changes as a positive first step. For the first time since the lawsuit commenced three years ago the Government has shown an intention to take steps and open a dialogue with us towards proposed change and therefore this is the beginning of the process we were hoping to make with this lawsuit. However, it is not enough to settle.

What has occurred, is that the parties have agreed to hold off on the court processes for one year, in order that we can continue negotiations and work with the Government towards further proposed reforms.

It is our view that a negotiated resolution to this lawsuit is in the best interests of Veterans for several reasons. Chief among them is the frailties of the legal process and the need for an efficient solution to getting better benefits for those suffering now.

First, it is important to realize the frailties of the litigation process. When we started this process the Government brought an application to strike out the case arguing that the Veterans did not even have the legal right to sue the Government for decreased benefits. There is quite a lot of case law out there that suggests that a government is entitled to spend their money any way they see fit. What we are arguing for is a novel exception to that which is that the government has a special obligation to veterans that requires them to provide adequate and fair compensation for injuries suffered in service to the country. While this view seems obvious and would carry the day in the court of public opinion, there is no law on the books to support it. Currently the matter is before the Court of Appeal and they have yet to render judgment. The Government attempted to abandon this appeal in Court on Monday, however unfortunately, the Court would not allow the appeal to be abandoned as argument had already been heard by the Court. Instead the Court of Appeal ordered that the Appeal also be held in abeyance for a period of one year. Therefore there remains a risk that the Court could reject our argument and strike out the case entirely, resulting in a bad legal precedent for Veterans going forward. Whether we win or lose in the Court of Appeal the matter would likely proceed to the Supreme Court of Canada and we again cannot be certain that the outcome would be successful there. All this is to say that we still have a long legal battle ahead just to gain the right to sue at the trial court level.

The next issue with the legal process is that the ultimate victory that we could receive would be merely a declaration of invalidity. When Courts find legislation to be unconstitutional they declare it invalid and then direct the Government to fix it. The Court cannot re-draft the legislation itself. In other words, the Courts cannot order the government to increase the lump sum or return to a pension scheme. All the Court has the power under our Constitution to do is to declare that the NVC is unconstitutional and that the government must fix it. There is no guarantee what that fix may be.

This brings us to where we are today. Since Minister O’Toole has been appointed there has been a shift in Veterans Affairs from ignoring or fighting that there is a problem, to acknowledging that there is a problem and wanting to fix it. If the Government is in a position where they are ready and willing to fix it now, rather than 7 years from now when ordered to do so by the Courts, then we truly believe that it is in the best interests of all Veterans to work with them, rather than fight them, to make sure they get the fix right.

The difficulty with ongoing litigation is that the government cannot work with us if we are engaged in litigation. In addition, if we were to be successful after trial and the Court ordered the government to fix the legislation, the government would be under no obligation to seek our input on what the proposed changes would be. By holding the litigation in abeyance we have created the opportunity for our team to be involved in driving what the changes will be. During this period of abeyance, the plaintiffs and their counsel will assess the Government’s implementation of the tabled reforms. We will also provide input to the Government and the Minister of Veterans Affairs as to what additional reforms should be made so that Canada may fully honour the obligations under the Social Covenant. Specifically we will have two representative Plaintiffs working on a stakeholder advisory committee and acting as liaisons between the Veterans community, the government and the legal team regarding reforms that are needed.

It is our view that a negotiated outcome will be the fastest and most effective way to see change.

While it may seem that giving up the “legal fight” for the time being is a loss, we see it as a temporary and necessary measure to try to affect change in the most efficient way. We all know that there are Veterans who are suffering daily without needed benefits and they cannot wait for a seven year legal battle. Change needs to happen now and we see the political process as the best way to achieve that.

In addition, it is important to note that our agreement with the Government does not silence us at all. We have specifically reserved the right for our legal team and representative plaintiffs to continue to comment in the media and raise issues of veterans’ benefits. It is our full intention to stay vocal during the upcoming election and to put our support behind whichever party comes out with the best proposed benefits for Veterans and to challenge the government of the day to do better.

If nothing fruitful comes of this negotiation process, which we view as unlikely, than we just pick back up where we left off in a year. While a year may seem to be a long time, in the lifespan of litigation like this it is only a temporary pause. We are using our experience as legal professionals to look for the best possible outcome for Veterans, and sometimes the best route is not always through litigation. That said, I would reiterate that the litigation is not over and the agreement reached with the Government gives us the right to recommence the action.

Please do not hesitate to follow up with any additional questions you may have to our legal team at: veterans@millerthomson.com. We want to be sure that the message that is getting to the veterans community about what this all means is accurate and we are happy to address your concerns.

For additional information, attached is a link to the Global News interview with Miller Thomson counsel, Don Sorochan Q.C. which explains what has happened with the lawsuit: https://globalnews.ca/video/2030538/veterans-government-put-lawsuit-on-hold

Regards

Kelsey Thompson
Miller Thomson LLP






















































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Civil Litigation

Post by Spider on Fri 05 Jan 2018, 11:31 am

ARMED FORCES - Personnel - Conditions of service - Compensation and benefits

Friday, January 05, 2018 @ 8:30 AM


Appeal by Canada from the decision in its largely unsuccessful application to strike claims by six members and former members of the Canadian Forces who suffered injuries in the line of their military duties. The plaintiffs alleged that Canada acted unconstitutionally in creating an inadequate system of compensation for them and other members of the Canadian Forces. The New Veterans Charter provided for lump sum earnings loss benefits for members and veterans suffering from disabilities relating to their service, as well as other benefits. The essence of the plaintiffs’ claim was that Canada had bound itself to a social covenant to provide adequate disability benefits for them. They alleged that this social covenant had constitutional status such that it circumscribed Parliament’s ability to legislate in the area of disability. They raised the doctrine of honour of the Crown and also argued that the social covenant gave rise to property rights of which the New Veterans Charter sought to deprive them. The plaintiffs also raised claims under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) arguing that they were an analogous ground subject to discrimination because the New Veterans Charter provided them with lesser benefits than were provided to injured workers or individuals harmed as a result of an actionable tort. They claimed that the New Veterans Charter violated their section 7 Charter rights to life, liberty and security of the person. In dismissing Canada’s application to strike the claim as disclosing no reasonable cause of action, the judge noted that Canada had accepted that the social covenant existed, but not that it had failed to fulfil it. The judge held that the doctrine of the honour of the Crown could apply to the social covenant. He found that it was not plain or obvious that status as a Canadian Forces member or veteran injured while serving would never be found to constitute one of an analogous group. He found it arguable that section 7 of the Charter could include a positive obligation on Canada to protect the security of the plaintiffs based on the unique interactions between the Crown and its armed forces. The judge did not itemize those few portions of the plaintiffs’ claim that he decided should be struck.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The plaintiffs’ claim was struck and the action was dismissed. The judge erred in finding that Canada accepted that a social covenant existed. Canada accepted that Prime Minister Borden stated in 1917 that the government considered it a duty to show its appreciation for service in the Canadian Forces. Borden’s vague statements did not bind Canada to a specific legislative regime in perpetuity. The doctrine of the honour of the Crown applied specifically to dealings with Canada’s First Nations people, and the plaintiffs’ situation bore no resemblance to that of First Nations. The plaintiffs were not an analogous group for the purpose of seeking a remedy for the discriminatory impact of the New Veterans Charter. The plaintiffs, as military personel, were not resented or discriminated against by the general population of Canada, and their treatment under the New Veterans Charter did not serve to perpetuate prejudice or stereotyping. Section 7 of the Charter did not impose a positive duty on Canada to enhance the lives of the plaintiffs.

Scott v. Canada (Attorney General), [2017] B.C.J. No. 2446, British Columbia Court of Appeal, H. Groberman, D.C. Harris and P.M. Willcock JJ.A., December 4, 2017. Digest No. TLD-January12018010

https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/5595/armed-forces-personnel-conditions-of-service-compensation-and-benefits-
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Equitas Facebook

Post by Ironman on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 8:23 pm

Gord Johns on Veterans


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Re: Equitas B.C. Class Action Lawsuit

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