New fund helps Canadian veterans take government to court

OTTAWA -- Military veterans fighting the federal government for benefits have another avenue for potential legal help under a new Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation.

See Full Article

The fund will pay the legal bills for qualifying vets who can't afford a lawyer, but want to go to court to fight decisions made by the Veterans Affairs Department or the veterans appeal board.

The foundation has received seed money through a $1 million endowment from two law firms that won a 2013 settlement against the federal government after a class action suit led by veteran Dennis Manuge.

The settlement was worth more than $900 million and the law firms that fought the seven-year case were awarded approximately $35 million.

Peter Stoffer, the former New Democrat MP and veterans affairs critic who lost his Nova Scotia seat in the October election, will sit on the board of the foundation.

Stoffer says many veterans simply give up the fight for benefits, because the legal and medical bills often add up to more than the benefits are worth.

"Right now a Federal Court claim can be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 in many cases," said Stoffer.

"And many, many veterans just simply don't have the wherewithal or the money to carry on their discussion to the Federal Court."

A board of volunteers, including Stoffer and representatives from the law firms McInnes Cooper of Halifax and Branch MacMaster of Vancouver, will decide which cases to pay for.

Ward Branch of Branch MacMaster said he hopes veterans use the foundation to get the benefits they deserve.

"For veterans who don't have the resources to hire a lawyer, or to hire a doctor to move their case forward, we're hoping that they consult with their lawyers and then eventually find their way through to us," he said.

The Manuge class action was filed in early 2007 on behalf of disabled veterans whose long-term disability benefits were reduced by the amount of the monthly Veterans Affairs Canada disability pension they received.

The Federal Court of Canada ruled that the federal government acted illegally in making the deductions.

Funding for the foundation was originally announced in 2013 as part of the class-action settlement



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Record water levels in the Great Lakes leave businesses with sinking frustration

    Canada News CTV News
    Record water levels in the Great Lakes and surrounding rivers have left some businesses scrambling as the tourist season is in full swing. Owners of the Thousand Islands Playhouse, a theatre in Gananoque, Ont. Source
  • Uber's new electric bikes hit roadblocks in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal is the first Canadian city to introduce Uber JUMP, a fleet of pedal-assisted electric bikes that can be locked at any bike rack across the city. But just weeks after the ride-sharing program launched, users have already been accused of thwarting the rules of the road. Source
  • U.S. imposes strict travel limits on Iran's UN diplomats

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. is tightly limiting travel by Iranian officials visiting or assigned to the United Nations, sparking concern from the world body. Representatives to the UN from Iran and some other countries have long had some limitations on their movements. Source
  • Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of toddlers found in body of water

    Canada News CTV News
    MASKWACIS, Alta. - Alberta RCMP are investigating the deaths of a young brother and sister found in a body of water on private property near Maskwacis. Police began looking for the toddlers in the early evening on Wednesday. Source
  • Crowd chants 'send her back' as Trump rails against Ilhan Omar

    World News CTV News
    The crowd at a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump in Greenville, N.C., broke into chants of “send her back” as the president railed against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar Wednesday, days after he posted racist tweets about Omar and three of her fellow congresswomen. Source
  • 'Problem' bear terrorizes couple at remote N.W.T. lake

    Canada News CBC News
    A grizzly bear that terrorized a couple for roughly 12 hours on a remote lake in the Northwest Territories was known to be a problem, according to a territorial wildlife officer. The man and woman, who are originally from the U.S. Source
  • Protest erupts in New York after police officer avoids charges in Eric Garner chokehold case

    World News CBC News
    Several hundred people took to the streets of New York on Wednesday to protest a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice not to bring federal charges against a police officer accused in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man in 2014. Source
  • 'Hey Eric Trump': Ontario man calls out U.S. president's son for using child's image in tweet

    World News CBC News
    An Ontario man is calling out a member of the Trump family for using an image of his young son as part of a political attack on those opposing the American president. Jeremy Rupke says Donald Trump's son Eric showed "disrespect" and lack of forethought when he included an image of four-year-old Mason Rupke in a recent social media broadside against Democrats. Source
  • National rules needed for emotional-service animals: Rempel

    Canada News CBC News
    A Conservative MP says she would like to see national standards on the right to have emotional-service animals in public spaces after watching her husband encounter numerous barriers while travelling in Canada with his dog, Midas. Source
  • 320,000 litres of oil and produced water spills at Alberta facility

    Canada News CTV News
    SWAN HILLS, Alta. - A large spill of crude oil and produced water at a Cardinal Energy facility near Swan Hills is being cleaned up. The Alberta Energy Regulator has few details about Saturday's spill on its compliance reporting website. Source