Commentary: Legion Seeking End to Unfair Practice Affecting Disabled RCMP Veterans. Why Must They Endure a Lengthy Court Case?
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 13, 2014) - The Royal Canadian Legion is concerned that in spite of the May 2012 landmark Federal Court decision which ruled that the offset of Pension Act disability benefits from Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members Service Income Security Insurance Plan - Long Term Disability (SISIP LTD) Plan benefits was an unfair practice, the federal government continues to reduce the same benefits for disabled RCMP Veterans. I have raised this issue in November 2012 and in December 2013 to the Minister of Public Safety, and this unfair practice still continues.
Similar to the lawsuit launched by disabled CAF veterans, disabled RCMP members launched a class action lawsuit in 2008 challenging the Government's policy of reducing their Veteran's monthly Long Term Disability income replacement benefits. The Royal Canadian Legion has for many years advocated the federal government to end this unfair practice of clawing back all Veterans' compensation received for injuries as a result of their service to Canada. The Legion's mission is to care for all Veterans and this includes serving and retired members of the RCMP.
In the case launched by disabled CAF Veterans, the Federal Court 'unreservedly rejected' the reduction and ruled that its practical effect was particularly harsh to the most severely disabled Veterans. Whether these Veterans wear a Canadian Armed Forces uniform or an RCMP uniform, the impact is the same. These Veterans have selflessly and without hesitation enforced the law, prevented crime and protected Canadians both domestically and abroad. The government has a moral obligation to ensure they are treated and compensated fairly. It is unfathomable to think that this government will not immediately cease this practice and undertake the necessary action to ensure disabled RCMP members receive the full-entitlement and compensation they so richly deserve. I believe that all Veterans of the CAF and RCMP should benefit from not having their monthly long term disability income replacement benefits reduced by their Pension Act Disability benefits. There is no difference.
Why won't the Government seize the opportunity to do what is right, end this unfair practice and avoid a lengthy legal process?
On behalf of the 320,000 members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the 22,000 uniformed members of the RCMP and 16,000 RCMP Veterans, I am asking that the federal government take immediate action and end this unfair practice.