Pension Surplus Trial Will Continue in February 2007
June 15, 2006
The second phase of the trial in the court cases challenging the federal government’s confiscation of over $30 billion of surplus in the superannuation plans for the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and the Public Service will start on February 26, 2007. Six weeks have been scheduled in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for the trial itself. Following a three-week break, an additional three weeks have been set aside for final argument. The parties had expected that the trial would continue in the spring or fall of 2006. Unfortunately however, these were the first dates that the Court had available for a trial of this length.
In the first phase of the trial, which took place in November 2005, Justice Panet ruled that 128 internal government documents would be admitted into evidence over the objections of the government lawyers. These documents, consisting primarily of statements, policies and communications by high level government officials show that during the 1990s, the government was using questionable accounting techniques to appropriate the surplus and pay down the deficit. They also reveal disagreements between Treasury Board and Ministry of Finance officials over the ownership and use of the surplus.
It is expected that the second phase of the trial will consist largely of testimony from expert witnesses regarding various aspects of the case. Justice Panet will continue to preside over the trial.
In the interim, counsel are continuing to prepare for trial, including preparing the expert evidence and the legal arguments. A pre-trial conference will be held in October 2006 in order to ensure that the trial proceeds as efficiently as possible.