Ottawa facing new war with veterans over benefit claw-back compensation

Canada’s veterans ombudsman and the Royal Canadian Legion are calling on the Harper government to say once and for all whether it will retroactively compensate ex-soldiers whose pensions and benefits were unfairly clawed back.

OTTAWA — Canada’s veterans ombudsman and the Royal Canadian Legion are calling on the Harper government to say once and for all whether it will retroactively compensate ex-soldiers whose pensions and benefits were unfairly clawed back.

Veterans Affairs Canada has been silent about whether it will follow National Defence and reimburse those whose earnings loss benefits, income supplements and war veterans allowance cheques were improperly docked.

In May 2012, Federal Court ruled the federal government was wrong to claw back the military pensions of injured soldiers by the amount of disability payments they received.

Former defence minister Peter MacKay ended the deduction and federal lawyers negotiated an $887-million retroactive settlement dating back to 1976, when the process first started.

Former veterans minister Steven Blaney also ended the practice for programs in his department, but his successor has yet to open discussions about compensation for what was deducted prior to the decision.

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