HALIFAX, Oct. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - David White, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) constable, is asking the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, and all members of the Government of Canada to end the unlawful clawback of disabled veterans' long term disability (LTD) payments.
White is the new representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit, initiated in 2008, that challenges the Government of Canada's policy of reducing RCMP Veterans' monthly LTD income replacement benefits by the amount of their Pension Act disability pension paid to compensate disabled veterans for their pain and suffering.
"For years we enforced the law, prevented crime and protected Canadians, but we are punished when we are no longer able to serve due to a disability that we received on the job," said White, a resident of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. "Some members of the class are severely disabled and dying, and the Federal Government refuses to come to the table to discuss our case."
While responding to a reported home invasion in May 2001, White was exposed to an extremely loud noise from a booby-trapped alarm system. As a result, he permanently suffers from hearing loss, tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing sound in both of ears, and hyperacusis, a severe sensitivity to sound, including everyday sounds. The RCMP ordered that White be involuntarily discharged due to his physical disability.
White receives a monthly pain and suffering award of $1,273.74 under the Pension Act, but he has not received any of the benefit from this award. His monthly long term disability income replacement benefit is reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of his pain and suffering award. As a result, White receives only $67.20 in monthly income replacement under a LTD insurance policy that he has paid premiums for throughout his 30 year career.
"The actions of the Government of Canada continue to cause significant financial and psychological hardship to disabled veterans who are no longer able to work," said White. "My disability is a result of serving to protect Canadians."
The case mirrors a class action lawsuit between Dennis Mangue, on behalf of all disabled Canadian Forces veterans, and the Government of Canada. After more than five years of litigation and several court hearings, in May 2012, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the insurance policy for Canadian Forces' members does not permit the reduction. The Federal Court "unreservedly rejected" the reduction and ruled that its practical effect was particularly harsh on the most severely disabled veterans.
The lawyers representing the proposed Class of disabled RCMP veterans, Peter Driscoll and Daniel Wallace at McInnes Cooper in Halifax, NS and Ward Branch of Branch MacMaster LLP in Vancouver, BC, are the same legal team that represented Dennis Manuges and disabled Canadian Forces veterans.
"We are asking for fair treatment of all disabled Canadian veterans—Canadian Forces and RCMP," said Peter Driscoll, lead counsel and partner with McInnes Cooper. "These veterans paid premiums on their long term disability insurance policy throughout their careers and now, when they need it the most, the most vulnerable members are denied the benefit that they paid for."
The Federal Government has accepted the Federal Court's ruling for Canadian Forces veterans. However, four months after that announcement, the Federal Government continues to reduce these exact same benefits for disabled RCMP veterans. Disabled RCMP veterans have not been compensated and continue without the full benefits they earned and paid for while serving to protect Canadians.
"Now is the time to discuss and settle this unfair treatment of disabled RCMP veterans," said Driscoll.
About the RCMP Long Term Disability Class Action
McInnes Cooper initiated the Class Action on June 6, 2008 on behalf of A. Gerard ("Gerry") Boute and all other disabled veterans whose RCMP Long Term Disability Benefits are reduced by the amount of the monthly Department of Veterans Affairs Pensions (the "DVA Pension") received under the Pension Act. Unfortunately, Mr. Boute passed away in 2009.
For more information, please visit www.mcinnescooper.com/services/class-actions/rcmp-ltd-class-action.
SOURCE: McInnes Cooper
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