Update on veterans class action lawsuit

June 5, 2015 | Donald J. Sorochan

Miller Thomson is pleased to announce that by agreement of the parties, the class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada that challenges the changes made to compensation for Canadian veterans led by Don Sorochan, QC of the firm’s Vancouver office, has been put on hold until May 2016.

Sorochan credits the new Veterans Affairs minister, Erin O’Toole who took over the post earlier this year, with changing the government’s approach to one that explores whether the case can be solved by the implementation of reforms through negotiation and discussion without going through the courts.

Sorochan also lauded the efforts of the Liberal and NDP Veterans Affairs critics, whose work led to the passage of a unanimous resolution of Parliament (266 – 0) on May 12, 2015 recognizing “the moral, social, legal, and fiduciary obligation exists between the Canadian people and the government” and veterans, which principle was the foundation of the class action suit.

“These steps and the promise of future reforms from all parties are a victory for the veterans,” said Sorochan. “However, it is not the victory, much is left to be done.”

Sorochan says that he, the Representative Plaintiffs and their supporters will continue to have discussions with the government and the other federal political parties leading up to October 21 election.  He is optimistic that this suspension of the litigation proceedings and continuing discussions will allow for all parties—and whichever government is in  power after the election—to improve  benefits for Canada’s modern day veterans.

This abeyance agreement, of proceedings in both the appeal and trial court, was confirmed Monday in  B.C. Court of Appeal proceedings where Sorochan and lawyers for the federal government presented the agreement to the appeal court, which in December 2014 had heard argument on an appeal by the federal government from the decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia upholding the validity of the action.

Read our news release on the class action suit.