Supplemental Retirement Benefits (SRB) Class Action
Bruyea v Canada
What is this claim about?
Murphy Battista LLP has filed a proposed class action against the Government of Canada and the Minister of Veterans Affairs concerning its administration of the Supplementary Retirement Benefit (the “SRB”) to former members of the Canadian Armed Forces (“Veterans”).
The SRB program was established by the Government of Canada to compensate for the lower pension earnings and retirement benefits payable to a Veteran who had been unable to engage in suitable gainful employment because of service-related injuries and disabilities. The Minister of Veterans Affairs is the sponsor and administrator of the SRB program. Eligibility for the SRB program commenced once a Veteran was approved for the Veterans Affairs Canada Rehabilitation Program (the “VAC Rehabilitation Program”) and the Earnings Loss Benefit; Veterans approved for the VAC Rehabilitation Benefit were eligible for and could concurrently apply for and receive the Earnings Loss Benefit.
The proposed class action alleges that employees of the Government of Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada, who are assigned to help Veterans, lack sufficient training, expertise, and awareness of programs, such as the SRB program, to explain and communicate such programs to Veterans. The class action alleges that, as a result, Veterans were not properly informed of, unable to fully comprehend, and did not receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled. As an example, it is specifically alleged in the statement of claim that Veterans who were in receipt of Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Disability (“CAF-LTD”) benefits were advised by employees of Veterans Affairs Canada that there was no benefit in applying for the Veterans Affairs Canada Rehabilitation Program (the “VAC Rehabilitation Program”), or the “Earnings Loss Benefit” while in receipt of the CAF-LTD. Given these alleged misrepresentations, many Veterans did not apply for the Veterans Affairs Canada Rehabilitation Program or the Earnings Loss Benefit – and therefore were not eligible for the SRB, which they otherwise would have been eligible to receive.
What is the Supplementary Retirement Benefit?
The SRB was a lump-sum taxable benefit payable to eligible Veterans and their survivors at age 65 (or when Earnings Loss Benefit eligibility ceased). The SRB program was terminated, effective March 31, 2019, and all participants in the SRB program subsequently received a lump-sum payout of the SRB. This proposed class action alleges that, as a result of the Government of Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada’s failure to properly advise Veterans of the SRB program (including the eligibility requirements of the SRB program and the steps a Veteran needed to take in order to maximize benefit entitlements under the SRB program), and by failing to provide them with reasonable, accurate, timely, and reliable information about the SRB program, Veterans eligible for the SRB did not take the steps they needed to take in order to maximize their benefit entitlements under the SRB program, did not receive the full lump-sum payments to which they were otherwise eligible to receive, and suffered losses as a result.
This proposed class action seeks to compensate Veterans who received or were eligible to receive the SRB for those losses.
Who does this class action affect?
This proposed class action is brought on behalf of all former members of the Canadian Armed Forces who received, or were otherwise eligible to apply for and receive, the SRB.
How do I know if I was eligible for the SRB?
If you are a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, then you were eligible for the SRB if:
- you were approved to be in the VAC Rehabilitation Program, or would have been approved to be in the VAC Rehabilitation Program upon application;
- you were deemed to be (or would have, on application, been deemed to be) Totally and Permanently Incapacitated and/or suffering Diminished Earnings Capacity as defined in programs sponsored and administered by the Government, including Veterans approved for CAF-LTD and designated Totally Disabled; and
- you were approved for and in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit from the Government, or you were otherwise eligible to apply for and receive an Earnings Loss Benefit.
To be eligible for the VAC Rehabilitation Program, a Veteran must have had a physical or mental health problem, resulting primarily from service in the Canadian Armed Forces, that created a barrier to re-establishment in civilian life. Veterans approved for the VAC Rehabilitation Program were eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit.
If you meet the aforementioned requirements and, as a result, you received or were eligible to apply for and receive the SRB, you are a class member in this proposed class action.
This class action was certified on October 17, 2022. Read the Order: Bruyea v His Majesty the King, 2022 FC 1409.
Read the News Release: Federal Court Certifies Class Action Against Canada on Behalf of Ill and Injured Veterans.
The certification hearing took place in Ottawa on June 6-8, 2022 and the Court’s decision certifying the class action was released on October 17, 2022.
The Statement of Claim was filed in the Federal Court on September 15, 2020. The CBC covered the story in October 2020: Lawsuit accuses Veterans Affairs of failing to tell eligible veterans about benefits.
Please check back here for updates.
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.
What should I do if I have been affected?
Please contact us by submitting the form below. A member of the legal team handling this action will contact you and you will be added to our database and kept apprised of developments.
If you have questions or would like to be included in our database of class members and kept apprised of developments, please email us at [email protected].
Lest We Forget: Stand up in support of Canada’s Veterans
November 10, 2022
On Remembrance Day, we recognize the sacrifices that Members and Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces have made for our country. These individuals voluntarily risk their lives in the name of freedom. And, sadly, many of them suffer debilitating injuries – and even death – as a consequence of their…Continue Reading
In the News
The Lawyer’s Daily covers certification of class action against Canada on behalf of Armed Forces veterans
October 26, 2022
The Lawyer’s Daily recently interviewed class counsel Angela Bespflug to get her comments on the recent certification of Bruyea v His Majesty the King, 2022 FC 1409. This case is a class action against Canada on behalf of Canadian Armed Forces members who were eligible for the Supplementary Retirement Benefit…Continue Reading
Federal Court Certifies Class Action Against Canada on Behalf of Ill and Injured Veterans (Updated)
October 20, 2022
Updated: For CBC Coverage of this class action see: Judge says lawsuit accusing government of failing to tell eligible veterans about benefits can proceed (more…)Continue Reading