Aaron Bedard, one of the plaintiffs in the Equitas Society’s class-action lawsuit, participated in the society’s Inaugural Walk For Veterans in Burnaby in October 2017. (File photo)

Aaron Bedard, one of the plaintiffs in the Equitas Society’s class-action lawsuit, participated in the society’s Inaugural Walk For Veterans in Burnaby in October 2017. (File photo)

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear B.C. veterans’ lawsuit on pensions

Decision rejects argument of ‘duty of care’ for disabled veterans

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the White Rock-based Equitas Society’s bid to pursue an appeal for its class-action lawsuit on behalf of disabled Canadian Armed Forces veterans.

READ MORE: Veterans take pension appeal to Canada’s top court

In a judgment issued early Thursday morning, the court said it would not hear the appeal of six veterans suing the Government of Canada – on behalf of thousands of others – for a reinstatement of full lifetime disability pensions.

“It’s not much to read, it simply says dismissed,” Equitas president Marc Burchell told Peace Arch News shortly after the judgment’s release.

The decision effectively quashes Equitas’s argument that Canada owes a “duty of care” to all veterans disabled in the service of the country

Burchell said, however, that it hasn’t quashed Equitas’s efforts.

“It’s the end of the road for the court case, but of course, we’ve had a Plan A and a Plan B and a Plan C,” he said.

Burchell described the federal Conservatives’ recent passing of a policy resolution “recognizing a military covenant between the people of Canada and its military” as “a very big step.”

He also pointed to the society’s creation of a Canadian Walk for Veterans as a positive.

It “was intended to unite the entire veteran community in Canada and bring them together to speak with one voice, and bring regular Canadian citizens in on the conversation,” Burchell said.

“So even though the court case is over, our advocacy doesn’t end. Matter of fact, it simply intensifies now.”

The organization has been battling Ottawa since the Harper Government replaced the Pension Act – which had given veterans disability pensions since 1919, just after the First World War – with its New Veteran’s Charter in 2006.

This instituted lump-sum payments that many disabled veterans have since claimed have left them considerably worse off – and minus a dependable month-to-month income supplement.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to reinstate the pensions in 2015, and the House of Commons the same year unanimously passed a motion calling for a moral “covenant” to provide compensation and support services to disabled veterans, no legislation was introduced.

Lawyers for the federal Justice Department continued to argue that Canada owed “no duty of care” to the veterans and in December of 2017 the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the veterans’ class-action on the basis that it could only enforce actual legislation.

More to come…

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)
Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

Voting day for the upcoming Central Okanagan Board of Education by-election is June 26. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan school board election set for June 26

Kelowna voters will go the polls to fill vacant Kelowna trustee seat

Two bikes that were stolen after a West Kelowna parking garage was looted on April 3. Photo: Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan
Parking garage looted in West Kelowna

A car was broken into and six storage lockers were ransacked

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Old English design elements can be seen in the sign of the Summerland Farm and Garden Centre in 1993. The guidelines are no longer in place, but some downtown businesses still show aspects of the days when Summerland had a theme in place. This photo was taken by Summerland photographer Dan Dorotich. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Old English theme has been abandoned

From the 1980s until the early 2000s, Summerland had design guidelines in its downtown

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read