HALIFAX, Jan. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Class Counsel with the SISIP Long Term
Disability Class Action has reached a proposed agreement with the
Government of Canada and is now available for review by class members.
The proposed agreement still requires review and approval by the Court.
The following overview is a summary only. For full details of the
settlement, including the Court approved Notice to the Class, and the
history of the litigation, please visit www.leavenovetbehind.ca.
The estimated total value of the proposed settlement is up to $887.8
million. This includes $424.3 million in retroactive payments, which in
turn includes $82.6 million in interest.
The proposed agreement includes:
Full retroactive payments dating back to 1976, including interest;
Future payments; and
Access to a $10 million Scholarship Fund for Class Members or their
As well, Class Counsel will donate $1 million to a charity for support
of access to justice initiatives for veterans, and $50,000 to lead
plaintiff Dennis Manuge for all the work he has done in advancing this
case on behalf of all veterans.
History of the Class Action
Under the terms of the SISIP LTD Plan, a disabled former Canadian Forces
member's benefits were reduced by the amount of their Pension Act disability pension (the "Offset"). The Plaintiff, Dennis Manuge,
brought this class action to challenge the legality of the Offset.
The Supreme Court of Canada approved the case going forward as a class
action on December 23, 2010.
The Federal Court ruled that the Offset was not permitted under the
SISIP LTD Plan on May 1, 2012. The Defendant did not appeal.
Since then, the Plaintiff and the Defendant have been in negotiations
over how the Offset should end, how past Offset amounts should be
refunded, and other key details. The Plaintiff and the Defendant have
now reached an agreement on these points that are contained in a
proposed draft order (the "Agreement").
June 1, 1976 - The Offset begins. The Offset will go to affect over
7,500 disabled CF veterans.
October 30, 2003 - then DND and CF Ombudsman André Marin issues his
special report Unfair Deductions from SISIP Payments to Former CF Members.
November 7, 2006 - the majority of House of Commons members voted in
support of a non-binding motion to end the Offset.
March 2007 - Dennis Manuge files his action. This is the first legal
challenge to the Offset, which has been in effect for over 30 years.
March 5, 2008 - the then-Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable
Greg Thompson testified "[i]f I attempted to make anyone believe we will be changing it, I would
not be telling the truth."
May 20, 2008 - Federal Court certifies Mr. Manuge's action as a class
action holding that it was "ideally suited to certification as a class
February 3, 2009 - Federal Court of Appeal allows the Government's
appeal and de-certifies the class action.
December 23, 2010 - Supreme Court of Canada unanimously allows Mr.
Manuge's appeal and re-certifies the class action.
May 1, 2012 - Federal Court rules that the SISIP LTD Policy does not
permit the Offset.
July - December 2012 - The parties undertake comprehensive negotiations
to resolve the remaining issues.
October 1, 2012 - The New Veterans Charter Regulations no longer deduct
the Pension Act disability pension from the Earnings Loss Benefit and
Canadian Forces Support Benefits. This is known as the "Manuge Effect".
November 2012 - The Department of Finance Canada amends its budget
projections to account for an additional $1.9 billion in additional
benefits as a result of this case.
Class Counsel is proposing a fee structure that is projected to be
approximately 7.5% of the total value of the settlement. For full
details on the fee mechanism, please review the court approved notice
at www.leavenovetbehind.ca. The Court has the final say on Class Counsel fees.
What Happens Now
Class Members have the right to file a formal letter of support or
objection to the proposed agreement and/or fees, which will be
considered by the Court at the hearing. A hearing for final approval of
the Agreement will be held at 9:30am, February 14, 2013, at the Law
Courts at 1815 Upper Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Court will
be asked to find that the Agreement is fair, reasonable, and in the
best interests of the Class Members, and to approve the percentage
proposed to be paid for fees, expenses, and taxes.
For further details and information please refer to www.leavenovetbehind.ca.
SOURCE: McInnes Cooper
For further information:
MT&L Public Relations