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

  • Typhoon Lan sweeps across Japan, killing 2

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - A powerful typhoon caused flooding and landslides along the Pacific coast of Japan, killing at least two people before heading out to sea Monday. Typhoon Lan made landfall in central Japan around 3 a.m. Source
  • Philippine troops find dozens of dead gunmen during clearing of Marawi

    World News CTV News
    CLARK, Philippines - Philippine troops have captured a building where pro-Islamic State group militants made their final stand in southern Marawi city and found about 40 bodies of suspected gunmen inside, two security officials told The Associated Press on Monday. Source
  • Body found near where Texas dad ordered his missing girl, 3, to stand outside for not drinking milk

    World News Toronto Sun
    RICHARDSON, Texas — Police in a Dallas suburb say they’ve found the body of a small child not far from the home of a three-year-old girl who’s been missing since earlier this month. Richardson police say the child’s body was discovered in a culvert as authorities using dogs searched for Sherin Mathews on Sunday morning. Source
  • Montreal woman believes son abducted in Peru

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Canadian woman who is searching for her missing son in Peru says that authorities in the country are considering the possibility that her son was abducted. Alisa Clamen, a Montreal resident, said her son Jesse Galganov, 22, left for a backpacking trip through South America and Southeast Asia last month. Source
  • Bears killed after attacking two people in B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    MISSION, B.C. - Two people have been injured by a bear that broke into a home in Mission, B.C. Murray Smith with the provincial Conservation Officer Service says a Mission resident heard a commotion in her backyard late Saturday night and went to check on her dogs. Source
  • Bear attacks woman, conservation officer in Mission, B.C.

    Canada News CBC News
    A woman and a conservation officer sustained minor injuries after they were attacked by a bear in Mission, B.C., early Sunday morning. Inspector Murray Smith said the woman went outside after she heard her dogs barking shortly after midnight and came face-to-face with a black bear. Source
  • Tillerson seeks Arab help in U.S. effort to isolate Iran

    World News CTV News
    DOHA, Qatar -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took the Trump administration's case for isolating and containing Iran in the Middle East and beyond to two Gulf Arab nations on Sunday, pushing for Saudi Arabia and Iraq to unite to counter growing Iranian assertiveness. Source
  • Trudeau appoints Bob Rae as special envoy to Myanmar

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is appointing Bob Rae a special envoy to Myanmar, two months into a growing crisis that has left 600,000 Rohingya Muslim people displaced. The move comes in response to growing public pressure to act in the face of what Canada and the United Nations have labeled ethnic cleansing of a long persecuted minority in Myanmar. Source
  • Memorial to teenage fentanyl victim vandalized in Edmonton

    Canada News CTV News
    An Edmonton mother has been forced to relive the pain of losing her teenaged son after a memorial dedicated to him was vandalized. “I’m just devastated,” Jennifer Hussey told CTV Edmonton. Hussey’s son Ryder died just before Christmas last year after he took a pill laced with fentanyl. Source
  • Keep a 'wary eye' on U.S. travel visas, Goodale tells American counterpart

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's Public Safety Minister has told his American counter part to keep a "wary eye" on the travel visas it issues to the United States. In an interview Sunday with CBC News, Goodale said Canadian officials have identified trends where documents issued from certain U.S. Source