Miscalculation of Disability Pensions Class Action

Veterans Affairs Canada administers certain disability benefits for current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which must be adjusted annually. The class proceeding seeks damages for alleged underpayments that occurred because of errors in the calculation of annual adjustments under section 75 of the Pension Act.

CASE NAME
Manuge v Her Majesty the Queen

COURT
Federal Court, Action No.: T-119-19

DATE FILED
Consolidated Statement of Claim, filed 30 October 2019

ABOUT THE ACTION

Each year, as required by the Pension Act, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) calculates annual increases in monthly disability benefits to account for inflation. Through this certified class proceeding, Class Counsel has identified several errors in VAC’s calculations. These alleged errors date back to 2002.

Class Counsel believes that hundreds of thousands of veterans and their surviving family members have been, and continue to be, underpaid each month. Class Counsel brought these errors to the Government of Canada’s attention in October 2019. So far, Canada has not corrected the alleged errors for ongoing payments.

Class Counsel is calling on VAC to promptly resolve the miscalculation and compensate disabled veterans and their surviving family members for the past two decades of what Class Counsel believe are underpayments of benefits.

Class Counsel continue to work with the Canadian Department of Justice to facilitate documentary discovery, which will be conducted electronically. A judicial case conference is expected in the coming weeks to formalize a discovery timetable and discuss other procedural issues. Concurrent with discovery, Class Counsel are committed to settlement discussions, which we are hopeful will take place with the Department of Justice after Parliament resumes, and once Ministers are in receipt of their mandates

Quick Facts

  • The Pension Act provides various disability benefits to recognize and fulfill the “obligation of the people and Government of Canada to provide compensation to those members of the forces who have been disabled or have died as a result of military service, and to their dependents.”
  • The Pension Act provides for an annual adjustment to disability benefits to account for the impact of inflation.
  • The class action was commenced in January 2019 and amended in October 2019 to seek compensation for new VAC calculation errors identified by Class Counsel.
  • The class action was certified by the Federal Court in December 2020.
  • Class Counsel estimate that there are approximately 300,000 class members.

CLASS MEMBERS

On 23 December 2020, the Federal Court certified the action as a class proceeding. The class is defined as:

All members and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and their spouses, common law partners, dependants, survivors, orphans, and any other individuals, including eligible estates of all such persons, who received – at any time between 2002 and the present – disability pensions, disability awards, and other benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada that were affected by the annual adjustment of the basic pension under section 75 of the Pension Act including, but not limited to, the awards and benefits listed at Schedule “A” of the certification order:

  • Pension Act: pension for disability; pension for death; attendance allowance; allowance for wear and tear of clothing or for specially made apparel; and exceptional incapacity allowance;
  • Veterans Well-being Act: disability award; and clothing allowance;
  • Veterans Well-being Regulations: remuneration of an escort;
  • Veterans Health Care Regulations: remuneration of an escort; and treatment allowance;
  • Veterans Review and Appeal Board Act: compassionate award;
  • Civilian War-related Benefits Act: war pensions and allowances for salt water fishers, overseas headquarters staff, and air raid precautions workers; and injury for remedial treatment of various persons and voluntary aid detachment (World War II);
  • Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act: monthly allowance for education; and
  • Flying Accidents Compensation Regulations: flying accidents compensation.

Updates

Statement of Defence filed July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021

The Attorney General of Canada has filed a statement of defence in this class action. You can view the document and all court documents in relation to this matter here.

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Notice of Certification Published July 30, 2021

You can find the Notice of Certification and the Opt Out Form here: https://vetspensionerror.ca/court-documents/

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CBC: Federal Government in exploratory talks to settle class action lawsuit over Veterans Affairs $165M accounting error

January 19, 2021

CBC reports on recent steps by the federal government to address an accounting error by Veterans Affairs Canada regarding the calculation of disability awards and pensions. The $165 million accounting error, affecting over 250,000 veterans, began in 2002 and continued undetected until 2010. Read the full story:  Federal government looking to settle lawsuit over $165 […]

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Register to participate in the class proceeding

If you are a member or former member of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – or a spouse, common law partner, or dependant of a veteran – and you received, at any time between 2002 and the present, certain disability benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada, you may be a member of the class. Eligible estates of persons who received these disability benefits may also be class members.