VeteranVoice.info Requests Minister to Not Appeal Federal Court Ruling on SISIP LTD Deductions of Pension Act Disability Payments

By THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT VETERANVOICE.INFO | May 07, 2012

On May 1, 2012, the Federal Court rendered an unequivocal yet fairly worded decision that the deduction of Pension Act monthly disability payments from the Canadian Forces long term disability policy known as SISIP (Service Income Security Insurance Plan) is not “contractually justified.” We urge the Minister and the Chief of Defence Staff to not appeal this ruling. 

VeteranVoice.info is a community of more than 110,000 serving and former CF members as well as Canadian families and supporters of the CF community. We are the largest online, real-time news distribution and sharing community in Canada. We do not take the step to politically advocate unless the issue is of utmost importance, clarity and injustice.

What the DND Ombudsman, Yves Côté concluded were “profoundly unfair” deductions of Pension Act payments from SISIP LTD income is a highly important, clear and indisputably unjust practice. Mr. Côté’s recommendations as well as those of his predecessor, André Marin were unanimously endorsed by the House Standing  Committee on National Defence in 2003, a committee for which you were an associate member. Yet, the recommendations have never been enacted.

There is indisputably no other issue which has passed through the VeteranVoice.info community since its inception which has galvanized universal support like the call to stop the profoundly unfair deductions from SISIP LTD. This issue has become a touchstone and a banner call magnifying other less visible shortfalls and gaps which continue to affect serving and retired CF members.

Nevertheless, we wish to thank you and General Natynczyk on recent actions to reestablish faith with the CF and the public. We commend you for promptly following the Auditor General’s recommendations to establish a separate government panel to select Canada’s CF-18 replacement fighter.

Following recommendations to replace the broken faith, broken bodies and broken minds of injured CF soldiers affected by the unfair and illegal deductions from SISIP LTD should be as quickly and thoroughly acted upon as recommendations to replace a piece of inanimate equipment.

Last week, the CDS made an appeal to the Canadian public for assistance in filling the ranks of mental health workers. This is the kind of partnership and public awareness which begins to instill the necessary bond and faith between Canada and its military. Such calls also greatly assist the healing of injured CF who have become devastated by dealing with an often uncaring bureaucratic system which often worsens their conditions. This is counterproductive to military effectiveness and establishing public goodwill for the CF.

As you well understand, the bond between a military members and their government is profound. This is why such words as social contract, social covenant and unlimited liability have been used to describe the mutual reliance, and an unswerving loyalty of CF members to their nation even when the uniform comes off. This loyalty however is in jeopardy.

The Federal Court ruling clearly underlined that the deductions of Pension Act payments was a breach of contract. Whereas a social contract/covenant is often unclear as to the obligations of government to its military, an insurance contract is very clear.

Also irrefutably clear is the ruling of the courts. If the government appeals this ruling, the harm done to the more than 1.5 million serving and retired members, and their families will be long-lasting. The public’s unprecedented and growing offence at the treatment of injured soldiers will undoubtedly increase exponentially.

The one question remaining upon many minds both in and outside the CF: why should citizens honour a contract of unlimited liability to the Government of Canada when  Canada continues to ignore government oversight bodies, both Chambers of Parliament, the Royal Canadian Legion (and other organizations) and potentially the Federal Courts.

The military and Canadians should never have to ask why citizens in uniform should honour unlimited liability. We urge you to not appeal the Federal Court’s ruling.

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