Federal Court says Clawback of Pension Should Stop

The Honourable Mr Justice Barnes of the Federal Court of Canada today ruled in favour of Nova Scotia veteran Dennis Manuge and 4,500 other injured veterans involved in a class action suit against the Government of Canada. Justice Barnes ruled that Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) payments for disability should not be considered income per se and must therefore not be clawed back from pension payments to veterans, as has been the practice.

Justice Barnes ruled that, “The practical consequence of the claimed offset is to substantially reduce or to extinguish the long-term disability coverage promised to members of the Class by the SISIP Policy with particularly harsh effect on the most seriously disabled CF members who have been released from active service.”

Green Party of Canada Veterans Affairs Critic John Percy praised Mr. Manuge’s tenacity on behalf of all injured Canadian veterans.

“Dennis has been on the frontline of this fight since 2007 and the ruling today is vindication for all the veterans who have served our country and were injured in that service,” said Percy.

“I am pleased that Justice Barnes has reached this conclusion after careful consideration of all the facts and arguments presented by both sides. The government has said they will study the situation and there is a real possibility that the government will appeal the decision. Such an action will cement their opposition to fair treatment of those who have given so much to this country,” Percy continued.

“Disability benefits are meant to compensate our veterans for their injuries.  Deducting these benefits from the SSIP defeats the purpose, as Justice Barnes noted.  The government should now accept this ruling and correct the problem,” said federal Green Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands).