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

  • Meghan Markle's father says he talked about Trump, Brexit with Prince Harry

    World News CBC News
    The father of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, says he talked politics with her husband Prince Harry over the phone before the couple married — and that Harry argued he should give U.S. President Donald Trump a chance. Source
  • Republicans on defensive over Trump's border separation policy ahead of immigration vote

    World News CBC News
    The emotional policy of separating children from their parents at the border is starting to divide Republicans and their allies as Democrats turn up the pressure in the U.S. Laura Bush, wife of the 43rd president, called the policy "cruel" and "immoral. Source
  • Halifax military officer expected to face sexual assault charge at court martial

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A court martial for a Halifax-based military police officer charged with sexual assault is scheduled for today. Military police Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, of Canadian Forces Base Halifax, faces one count of sexual assault in connection with an alleged 2015 incident in Glasgow, Scotland. Source
  • Spanish king's brother-in-law begins prison term for graft

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- The brother-in-law of Spain's King Felipe VI has begun serving a nearly six-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion, Spanish prison authorities said Monday. An official with the Interior Ministry's prison management division said Inaki Urdangarin arrived Monday morning at a prison near Avila, about 100 kilometres north of Madrid. Source
  • Thomas Markle wishes he had walked daughter down the aisle

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The father of the former Meghan Markle says he wishes he could have walked her down the aisle during her wedding to Prince Harry. Thomas Markle told broadcaster ITV on Monday that his daughter cried when he told her he wasn't well enough to attend the ceremony last month, but was honoured to be replaced by Prince Charles. Source
  • Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in Volkwagen emissions investigation

    World News CBC News
    German authorities on Monday detained the chief executive of Volkswagen's Audi division, Rupert Stadler, as part of a probe into manipulation of emissions controls. The move follows a search last week of Stadler's private residence, ordered by Munich prosecutors investigating the manager on suspicion of fraud and indirect improprieties with documents. Source
  • Caster Semenya files legal challenge against 'discriminatory' IAAF rule

    World News CBC News
    Olympic champion Caster Semenya is challenging a recently introduced IAAF regulation, calling it "discriminatory." The two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 800-metre will file a legal case today before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, challenging the IAAF's recently introduced Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification. Source
  • Migrant issue hot button in Europe, but EU says asylum requests dipped in 2017

    World News CBC News
    The European Union's asylum office says the number of people applying for international protection in Europe has plunged but remains higher than before 2015, when more than one million migrants entered, many fleeing the war in Syria. Source
  • Corruption whistleblower calls for ouster of Quebec Liberals

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - The Liberals must be defeated in October's election in order to properly clean up Quebec politics, says a former star witness in the province's corruption inquiry. Most of the people convicted in the high-profile cases investigated by Quebec's anti-corruption unit have pleaded guilty and served no jail time, while high-level actors at the provincial level have barely been touched, says Lino Zambito. Source
  • Indigenous protesters in Washington state declare Trans Mountain won't be built

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Cedar George-Parker remembers the moment he decided to devote his life to defending Indigenous people and their traditional territories. It was the one-year anniversary of a shooting at his high school that killed four of his classmates in Marysville, Wash. Source