The retirement dream.
The retirement dream can be shattered by disability. To protect ourselves, we buy financial products, such as Life Insurance, pensions, RRSP's & Long Term Disability Insurance, to name a few.
Pensions, like the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act pension, are a form of forced savings & insurance. It is a Defined Benefit plan where you are given the right after a set time period, 10 years for CF members, to a benefit payment based on a formula. The CFSA formula is the average salary over 5 years multiplied by 2% a year multiplied by the number of year's service (maximum 35 years).
There is a disablement provision in the CFSA where a disabled soldier can get his automatic right to his money when he has the unfortunate injury or illness that renders him too disabled to work.
Disability or disablement pensions, as the Brits call them, are an important safety net. Bear in mind they are limited. A CFSA disability pension, for example, would be about 20% of wages if you had 10 years in. While on that subject, 10 years is manifestly unfair.
A public servant needs 2 years to "vest" or be locked in. A Reservist also needs 2 years, a rare occurance where a Reservist has an advantage over a Regular Force member. RCMP members can, I think, get a pension after 2 years.
A recent case, IBM v Waterman, sheds some light on the possible motive for this 10 year vesting period plus a disturbing possibility that Canada might be saving pension money at the expense of a disabled member. The 10 year period gives 500% more chance (5x the 2 year PS pension) that a member will not vest.
The more nefarious possibility is mentioned in IBM v Waterman. The Supreme Court Justices stated there should be a public policy against encouraging employers to "get rid of" employees to save pension money! This seems like a real possibility for the CF, many members seem to get released JUST before they vest. Someone ought to investigate this as it is contrary to justice & public policy if there is "smoke where there is fire."
Another case, Sulz, sheds some light on several pension related issues.
1. Can pensions be deducted from tort damages (compensation, WCB or VAC are similar)?
2. What is the nature of pensions?
3. What does contributions mean to the benefit?
4. What effect did disability have on the pension?
2. Pensions are assets akin to insurance, NOT income.
3. Contributions give you a legal entitlement to a benefit. To take it off would mean you paid a premium for nothing.
4. The disability caused a lowered pension as the disabled RCMP member would likely have contributed longer & received a higher RCMP pension.
Sulz serves disabled soldiers well as a precedent:
1. CPPD is allowed plus damages (or WCB/VAC).
2. CFSA pension is allowed plus damages (or WCB/VAC).
3. SISIP LTD is allowed plus damages (or WCB/VAC) as you contributed to the pool of insurance money.
In fact, the only deduction for the Sulz case from her $900,000 damages was the VAC pension. A curious result given the Dennis Manuge case, to be sure. It would seem to me that the Pension Act s. 30(1) would deny the deduction. The judge could have stated that Parliament intended for disabled veteran's to get their award, not to reward the wrongdoer. Sulz sued over harassment, not normal service injury. Taking her VAC pension off her damages seems a GRAVE INJUSTICE!
However, she did not appeal. She won, basically. She got GWL LTD (SISIP analogy), RCMPSA pension (CFSA pension analogy), CPPD & tort damages.
The lesson is:
We can get, without offset (deductions from damages)
1. SISIP LTD (private insurance)
2. CFSA pension (if 10+ years)
3. CPPD (akin to insurance)
4. VAC ELB (economic Compensation)
5. VAC PIA (Total Disability economic Comp)
6. VAC DA (Non-economic COMPENSATION)
7. VAC PIAS (Economic Compensation)
To some, this may seem exorbidant.
I must point out that when you buy a financial product (CFSA/SISIP/CPPD), you BOUGHT the RIGHT. It is not WELFARE. It is not "needs" or "income" tested. At least they are not supposed to be.
Freedom 55, a dream.
A nightmare for us when SISIP/CPPD & other Government departments fight over OUR PURCHASED RIGHTS!
They need to be corrected, hard!
The SISIP class action did not deter Canada.
The next class action will bring up PUNITIVE DAMAGES for failure of FIDUCIARY DUTY & FRAUD!
It is our money.
Think that over. You sued yourself!