Hirschfield v HMTK, 2023 FC 900

Current status

  • Murphy Battista LLP filed this claim in September 2021.
  • The motion for certification was heard in May 2023.
  • The class action was certified June 28, 2023.

Please continue to check back here for updates.

What is this claim about?

On June 28, 2023, the Federal Court of Canada certified a federal class proceeding brought against the Government of Canada alleging the improper claw back of disability pension benefits under the Pension Act.

This class action was brought by Murphy Battista LLP on behalf of veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and their spouses, common law partners, dependents, survivors and orphans. The representative plaintiff, Robert Marcus Hirschfield, served the RCMP as a Constable for nine years before he was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident while on duty.

The Federal Court’s order certifying this claim as a class proceeding helps to bring disabled veterans and their survivors one step closer to justice for the wrongs they have suffered in relation to the disability benefits administered by Veterans Affairs Canada. As stated by Angela Bespflug, lead counsel for the Class: “Canada, including Veterans Affairs Canada, needs to do better in supporting CAF and RCMP members who become ill and injured as a consequence of their service to this country:”.

The certified claim includes allegations of systemic negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment on the part of Canada in its administration of disability pension benefits.

The Federal Court judge, in granting certification, stated (among other points) that:

[54]        … it is not plain and obvious that there is no fiduciary duty owed by the Defendant to the proposed Class Members. The Plaintiff has pleaded that the Defendant has undertaken to act in the best interests of the proposed Class Members through the implementation and administration of the Act. Moreover, the Plaintiff has pleaded to the vulnerability of the proposed Class Members – many of whom potentially suffer from debilitating physical and mental disabilities – to the Defendant’s administration of the Act.

Who does this class action affect?

The Federal Court of Canada defined the Class as follows:

All members and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy, and their spouses, common law partners, dependents, survivors, and orphans who, at any time between May 14, 1953 and the present, received a pension under the Pension Act where that pension:

  1. was reduced by a monthly amount pursuant to sections 25 and 26 of the Pension Act or their predecessor provisions; and
  2. in calculating that reduction under section 26(2) or 26(3) of the Pension Act or their predecessor provisions, the Minister of Veterans Affairs (or their predecessor) included in the “compensatory amount” amounts collected by or in respect of the pensioner for Economic Compensation in respect of the same death or same disability for which the pension is payable.

“Economic Compensation” excludes non-pecuniary damages.

Who are the lawyers?

This class action is being pursued by a team of lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP, led by Angela Bespflug, Janelle O’Connor and Caitlin Ohama-Darcus.

Questions?

If you have questions or would like to be included in our database of class members, you may contact:

Caitlin Ohama-Darcus at [email protected].

Alternatively, you may call Murphy Batttista’s Vancouver office at (604) 683-9621 or Toll Free at 1-844-633-3817 and ask to speak to a member of the legal team handling the Disability Pension Clawback Action. Reception will transfer your call to someone who can help you.