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Veterans win $100 million settlement

Recently, the Canadian government reached a settlement for a class action lawsuit with Canadian veterans.

“The Government of Canada and plaintiff Ray Toth have reached an agreement to settle the class proceeding Toth v. Her Majesty the Queen, ending a legal action that began over four years ago. We believe the settlement is fair and we are happy to have this matter resolved,” said a joint statement between Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and Representative Plaintiff Ray Toth, and his counsel Gowling WLG (Canada) and Michel Drapeau Law Office (MDLO).

The suit revolved around low-income veterans with disabilities whose financial aid benefits were being clawed back by the government. The defendants alleged that it was discriminatory for the government to claw back the financial aid from those who received disability pensions for injuries sustained while in uniform.

“The settlement focuses on compensation for harm, including pain, suffering, humiliation, and loss of dignity, resulting from this discrimination,” stated the decision from the Federal Court.

Veterans will receive payments between $2,000 – $50,000 depending on the degree of disability and time served. If no appeal has been filed by April 1, 2019, then VAC will start the process for the Veterans to receive their payments. They expect all 15,000 class members will receive their payment by the end of 2019.

“The Plaintiff and class council acknowledge that the settlement is not perfect for each Class member but note that perfection is not the standard and that the settlement is fair and reasonable for the Class as a whole,” stated the decision.

Michel Drapeau, of MDLO, commented, “This win will bring tax-free lump sum payments to some of the most disabled and vulnerable Canadian Forces veterans. The large majority of class members are elderly WW2 and Korean War Veterans. The ELB class members are all disabled modern-day veterans. We have received many letters of congratulations, thanks and appreciation from a great number of these persons…”

Michel Drapeau was a military member himself, so these types of cases hold a special place for him. Accordingly, in his own law practice, MDLO, Drapeau has dedicated himself to helping both veterans and serving members navigate the law and secure the benefits to which they are entitled. He is particularly proud of the outcome of this case, and how some of the most vulnerable Canadian Forces veterans will be awarded lump sums and tax free awards.

“I have been associated with the military and veterans all of my life. My dad, god-father and grand-dad each served in the Army. I served in the Regular Force and the Militia for a total of 34 years. Also, my law office regularly advises and handles matters on behalf of veterans and CAF members from across Canada. This case has permitted me to not only be in touch with thousands of comrade in arms during the course of the litigation but to provide them with a good result. I am very proud to have played a role in achieving this outcome,” said Drapeau.

Read settlement here.

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Deborah van der Linde

Deborah is a librarian who is passionate about books, storytelling, and writing. Thanks to her husband Adam’s military career, they have had the great fortune of living all across Canada. Deborah and Adam have two delightful children and a dog that thinks he’s one of the kids.

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