Update on Pension Surplus Litigation

May 04, 2005 At long last, it looks like the case challenging the federal government’s confiscation of the surplus in the federal public service, Canadian Forces and RCMP Superannuation Plans is in the home stretch.
Following passage of the government’s pension legislation in 1999 (Bill C-78), which allowed the government to appropriate the $30 billion pension surplus. The Association, joined with PIPSC, PSAC, The Armed Forces Pensioners'/Annuitants' Association of Canada and the RCMP Veterans to contest the new legislation. This action claims ownership of the pension surplus for federal government employees.
The litigation in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice regarding the surplus in the Public Service Superannuation Plan, the Canadian Forces Superannuation Plan and the RCMP Superannuation Plan is scheduled to go to trial commencing November 15, 2005, and the trial is expected to last two to three weeks. Because of the large volume of evidence that will be submitted, we can expect a decision by May of 2006. However, we expect that whoever loses will file an appeal following this decision.
Some of the steps necessary to get the case ready for trial have taken place over the last few months. The remaining steps have been scheduled to take place prior to November 15th.
The most important recent developments have been the examinations for discovery of the plaintiffs in all three actions, which took place in December 2004 and a case management conference on January 10, 2005.
In the January 10th case management conference, all of the parties were able to agree on a strict time table for the various matters that need to be dealt with prior to trial. This includes dates for finalizing an Agreed Statement of Facts and an Agreed Book of Documents. This is important because, to the extent that the parties can agree on certain facts and documents, this can substantially shorten the length of the trial.
The schedule also provides for expert reports to be completed by the plaintiffs by June 30, 2005 and for the government lawyers to give the plaintiffs any expert reports they intend to rely on by September 30, 2005. It is expected that most of the witnesses at trial will be experts and therefore the completion of the expert reports by both sides will be a significant step in preparing for trial.
Another key event in the preparation for trial will be a Trial Management Conference with the judge who will be hearing the case, which is scheduled to take place on September 23, 2005. By that time, the parties are expected to have completed a great deal of the preparation work for trial and it is likely that the judge will provide direction regarding how the trial should proceed.
For additional information on this matter please refer to the following links:
Update on Federal Litigation Challenging Bill C-78 in the CAPE 2003-2004 Annual Report
Pension Update March 2002
Pension Litigation Update July 2001