HALIFAX, May 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Following a five-year class action lawsuit between disabled veterans and the Government of Canada, disabled veterans expressed relief that the Federal Court of Canada decision in their favour will not be appealed.
"This has been a long five-year class action lawsuit between disabled veterans and the Government of Canada and it is great to see that they are doing the right thing," said Canadian veteran and lead plaintiff Dennis Manuge. "They have listened to Canada's disabled veterans, and clearly they wanted to do the right thing."
The Class Action was initiated in March of 2007 on behalf of Dennis Manuge and all other disabled veterans whose SISIP Long Term Disability Benefits are reduced by the amount of the monthly Veterans Affairs Canada Disability Pension we receive under the Pension Act. On May 1st, 2012, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Government of Canada acted illegally in making deductions from veterans' long term disability benefits.
Earlier today in Ottawa, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veteran's Affairs, announced that the Federal Government of Canada will not appeal the Federal Court Decision.
"The Federal Court of Canada ruling and the acceptance of the ruling by the Government of Canada, provides hope for Canada's disabled, ill and disadvantaged veterans who have been taken advantage of for far too long," said Manuge. "This has been a very difficult experience for Canada's disabled veterans, including me, on a personal, emotional and financial level and it is a relief to know that we are one step closer to being reimbursed."
In the near term, Mr. Manuge's legal counsel, Peter Driscoll and Daniel Wallace with McInnes Cooper and Ward Branch with Branch MacMaster, will work with the Federal Government to finalize details of the class action decision.
"We don't know the full scope of this announcement yet, but we're confident it soon will put the money into the hands of all affected disabled veterans - many of whom have been waiting a very long time and need this support very much," said lead counsel Peter Driscoll with McInnes Cooper. "We look forward to sitting down with federal representatives to implement the decision."
Minister MacKay and Minister Blaney also announced today that as a result of this court decision, the Government of Canada will change the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) to be aligned with the SISIP decision, so that ELB benefits are not reduced by the amount of VAC disability payments.
"This ELB decision will put much needed money in the hands of disabled veterans," said Driscoll.
About the SISIP Class Action
The Class Action was initiated in March of 2007 on behalf Dennis Manuge and all other disabled veterans whose SISIP Long Term Disability Benefits are reduced by the amount of the monthly VAC (Veterans Affairs Canada) Disability Pension they receive under the Pension Act. On May 1st, 2012, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Government of Canada acted illegally in making deductions from veterans' long term disability benefits. For more information visit www.leavenovetbehind.ca or www.mcinnescooper.com.
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