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)

Equitas lawsuit appeal denied by Supreme Court

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, however, said 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 2017, the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the veterans’ class-action on the basis that it could only enforce actual legislation.

Just Posted

RCMP investigate two shootings in Surrey

Incidents happened in Whalley, Newton

Surrey Board of Trade fears SkyTrain expansion will impede other transit needs

‘We need transit improvements in all of Surrey,’ Anita Huberman says

Cloverdale’s 5 most-read stories of the week, July 12–19

Mayor dissolves public safety committee, Surrey killer foiled by bar ID check, and more

Surrey RCMP, firefighters support Cloverdale boy’s lonely lemonade stand

Parker, 7, had few takers until Surrey first responders heard his call

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Most Read