Feb 242013
 

 

If there are lawyers out there who will file a class action lawsuit against the Federal Government, then why is it that disabled workers who face the same discriminatory practices by WCB and approved by the Alberta Government, have such a hard time filing a class action law suit against the Alberta Government and WCB.

 

Afghanistan war vets file class-action suit against federal government

at 17:05 on October 30, 2012, EDT.

 

The Canadian Press

 

VANCOUVER – A group of Afghanistan war veterans has filed a class-action lawsuit against the federal government, saying the new lump-sum disability payments aren’t enough to support them.

The B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit filed today claims the rules for disability payments in the New Veterans Charter violate their constitutional rights.

Among the soldiers suing the Attorney General of Canada is Maj. Mark Douglas Campbell, who lost both of his legs in a bomb attack in June 2008, and Cpl. Bradley Darren Quast, who was severely injured in a December 2009 blast that killed four soldiers and a Canadian journalist.

 

Lawyer Don Sorochan says soldiers who go to war expect to be taken care of by the country they serve, and that is not happening.

The lawsuit says the new charter is a breach of the duty of care owed to injured soldiers, and it seeks damages as well as a declaration that the charter is discriminatory.

Earlier this month, Veterans Affairs ended a policy of clawing back benefit payments of disabled veterans after a Federal Court rejected the practice.

 

According to the agreement between workers and employers and administered by the Alberta Government at arms length, WCB has a duty of care to workers. Reasons for a class action lawsuit could be based on breach of a duty of care, bad faith contract, culture of denial, all of which leads to a violation of the Charter. Workers have been very patient with our elected public servants to enact legislation to protect them from the cruel and inhumane treatment by WCB and the Appeals Commission. The only time workers have made any gains is through the courts as has been witnessed by notable cases such as chronic pain being recognized as a compensable medical condition by the Supreme Court which the Alberta WCB are not in compliance with and does not recognize and refuse to recognize chronic pain for discernible medical conditions. Every one cannot be firefighters or first responders who are given special treatment under the law and before the law while other workers are treated like second class citizens. Laws are supposed to apply to every one, not just a selected few.

 

According to correspondence I received from Human Rights, a person’s occupation is not in the protected category and according to their interpretation of the human rights act all persons do not have equal protection or were intended to have equal protection under the law and before the law. According to Human Rights, when reviewing human rights legislation, in the preamble or introduction statements, it states that all persons’ are to be treated equally, however in the body of the legislation the only persons who are to be treated equally are those persons who fall into the protected category which according to them, a person’s occupation is not within the protected category, then there is no protection.

 

I found this interpretation to be rather bizarre but a precedence setting case involving sexual orientation filed by Mr. Vriend went to the Supreme Court who determined that all persons are to be treated equally and by exclusion, you cannot exclude sexual orientation from the protected category. http://www.law.ualberta.ca/centres/ccs/issues/equalityrightsandsexualorientation.php Human Rights were forced to include sexual orientation into the protected category and I suspect the court would include a persons occupation in the protected category also based on legal precedence. At present a persons source of income is in the protected category and could very well be applied to occupations which would place occupations in the protected category. Both Mr. Mason and Ms. Notley especially, brought up the words inclusion and exclusion which have to be considered when determining equality. This seemed to annoy Mr. Oberle who then questioned whether all workers should be included or should he simply scrap Bill 1 which in my opinion should be done and also scrap the previous bills that include firefighters but exclude all other occupations which is discriminatory. Anytime that laws are specific to individual groups by name, this is inclusion and is illegal when other individual groups are excluded. Whoever enacted or approved foolish laws that specify a protected group rather than simply determining that all persons are equal under the law and before the law has to be pathetically stupid. Another case involving the the stupidity of the Alberta Government is when they believed that they had the right to sterilize some people and not all people and rather than pay damages to those persons whose lives they ruined, spent tax payers money to defend their actions and ultimately lost their case. Where in hell do we get these stupid people that run for office and then are elected by stupid Albertans.

 

It is difficult for any MLA to vote against Bill 1 simply for the fact the MLA would appear to have a dislike of firefighters or first responders. More than likely some MLA’s feel that I dislike firefighters and first responders which is not true. My brother-in-law is a retired City of Calgary firefighter so why would I not want firefighters to have presumptive status for certain cancers, heart attacks and now PTSD unless of course I believe in total equality for all persons and do not believe in treating firefighters and first responders to special treatment by enacting legislation that provides special rights for firefighters and first responders and excludes all other occupations. If I was an MLA I would vote against any special treatment for any individual group based on my own integrity and principle and would only vote for an amendment to Bill 1 if all workers were given presumptive status for all accidents or occupational diseases and have WCB prove contrary which is the original intent of the agreement between workers and employers in an inquiry based system.

 

Governments that treat people differently by enacting laws that discriminate surely know that this creates a slippery slope as witnessed by providing more instances of special treatment for firefighters and now first responders without extending the same legislation to all other occupational groups. It is extremely naive of some MLA’s to believe that by giving firefighters and first responders presumptive status that this is the first step in providing presumptive status to all workers. There need not be a first step as the whole workers compensation system has to be dealt a giant blow to change the way they adjudicate claims. Who runs the province, the people we elect or does WCB direct our elected public servants. Governments are elected to represent all people not just firefighters and first responders.

 

The only reason why presumptive status for firefighters for certain cancers and heart attacks has not been struck down by the courts is because workers do not have access to the courts because of lack of funding and the unavailability of legal counsel. This could all be changed if a workers group was formed as a non profit organization who could raise enough money to bring all these matters before the courts.

 

Gerry Miller