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Payments for thousands of injured veterans possible following Federal Court ruling

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Thousands of injured veterans could be in line for payments from the federal government after a Federal Court ruled in favour of a former special-forces soldier whose class-action lawsuit alleged he was shortchanged on his long-term disability payments.

Retired warrant officer Simon Logan was medically discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces in February 2016, at which point he expected to begin receiving monthly payments equalling 75 per cent of his pre-release salary of $10,665.

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Yet the disability payments only accounted for his base pay as a warrant officer and did not include nearly $4,000 in monthly allowances he had received while in the Forces, most of which were related to his service as a special-forces soldier.

The omission of those allowances represented a difference of nearly $3,000 per month in Logan’s disability payments.

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Logan’s lawyers had argued in Federal Court that the allowances should have been included because they reflect the special skills and increased hazards that he faced while serving in uniform.

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Government lawyers said the allowances should not have been included because Logan stopped being a special-forces soldier when he left the Forces.

But in his ruling on Tuesday, Federal Court Justice Richard Southcott said monthly allowances should count in the calculation for long-term disability. Allowances that are not received each month should not be included, Southcott added.

It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal the decision.

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Logan’s lawyer, Daniel Wallace of Halifax-based firm McInnes Cooper, said his client was pleased with the decision and expressed the hope that the government would implement the decision and not appeal.

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Wallace said approximately 6,800 veterans are part of the class-action lawsuit, though he could not say how much the government could end up paying out should it implement the court’s decision.