March 23, 2012 update:
The Appeal Court Judgement is available to view here (PDF)
March 14, 2012 update:
The Judgment of our Appeal was handed down this morning. It was denied.
Further details will be available after consultation with our Counsel.
June 7, 2011 update: The Class Action appeal hearing concluded on Friday, June 3 in the Vancouver Appellate Court before Justices Chaisson, Smith and Groberman. We must now await the Judgment, which will be handed down in due course.
Overview | Developments | Documents | News Releases And Reports | FAQs | Contacts
BC Public Services Benefits Class Action Lawsuit
This class proceeding concerns the rights of retired members of a pension plan to receive the benefits they are entitled to.
The action alleges that the British Columbia Provincial Government breached its contractual and fiduciary obligations to members of the British Columbia Sector Pension Plan in October, 2002, when it unilaterally announced that it would no longer pay 100% of the cost of premiums for Medical Services Plan Benefits and Extended Healthcare Benefits of the retirees. The action seeks damages for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract.
This action was certified as a class proceeding on November 30, 2005. The class of persons this action represents is detailed in the Notice of Certification, below. Generally, it is comprised of individuals who, on November 30, 2002, were retired members of the British Columbia Public Service Pension Plan who were presently entitled to receive premium-free Medical Services Plan and Extended Health Care Benefits and who retired on or before November 2002.
- Oct 26 , 2009 An appeal was been filed by counsel in British Columbia.
- Oct 09, 2009 The Court dismissed the action on October 1, 2009 and the Plaintiff has filed an appeal to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The Reasons for Judgment are accessible under the documents link to the right of this page.
- Feb 02, 2009 The trial of this action commenced on February 2, 2009 and was completed over the course of one week. The trial judge’s decision is pending.
- Jun 21, 2007 The Supreme Court of Canada denied the Defendant’s Application for Leave to Appeal the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal upholding the certification of this class proceeding. The Plaintiff’s application for leave to cross-appeal the variation of the class definition by the Court of Appeal was also dismissed.
- Jan 22, 2007 The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the Defendant’s appeal of the certification decision. The Court of Appeal varied the class definition, holding that retirees who were not directly employed by the Province of British Columbia were not entitled to proceed with a contractual claim.
- Oct 20, 2006 The Defendant’s appeal of The Honourable Mr. Justice Melvin’s certification decision was heard by the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
- Nov 30, 2005 This action was certified as a class proceeding by order of the Honourable Mr. Justice Melvin of the British Columbia Supreme Court.
- Dec 3, 2010 Appellant's Reply
- Nov 19, 2010 Respondent's Factum
- Oct 19, 2010 Appellant's Factum
- Oct 26, 2009 Notice of Appeal
- Oct 01, 2009 Reasons for Judgment
- Jun 27, 2008 Notice of Certification
- Jun 06, 2008 Further Amended Statement of Claim dated June 6, 2008
- Mar 01, 2008 Further Further Amended Statement of Defence dated March 2008
- Nov 13, 2007 Reasons for Judgment dated November 13, 2007
- Jan 02, 2007 Reasons for Judgment dated January 2, 2007
- Nov 30, 2005 Reasons for Judgment dated November 30, 2005
News Releases & Reports
What is a class action?
A class action is a lawsuit which provides a method for a large group of people with common claims to join together to advance one large claim. Class actions are a more efficient and cost-effective way for groups of people with common claims to gain access to the legal system and seek justice.
What does certification mean?
In order for an action to proceed as a class action, the court must determine whether it is appropriate for the case to be treated as a class action. Some of the factors the courts consider are the extent to which the claims of the class members are common, and whether a class action is preferable to other methods (such as individual actions) of advancing the issues. The decision as to whether a class action should be certified takes place at a certification hearing and is decided by a judge. If certified, a representative plaintiff will advance the action on behalf of all of the class members.
How do I know if I am a Class Member?
The certification order will always contain a description of who is a class member. We post the certification orders in our actions so that you can review them. You do not need to “sign up” to become involved in a class action. If you are included in the class description, you are automatically a class member who will be affected by the outcome of the class action unless you decide to “opt out”.
Are Class Members notified of the certification of the class proceeding?
Yes. After the claim has been certified, the court will authorize notice to be given to the members of the class.
Can I opt out of a class action and pursue independent legal action?
Yes. When a class action is certified, class members are always given an opportunity to opt out of the action. A deadline is imposed for opting out. If you do not opt out by the given deadline, class members will be bound by the outcome of the class action, whether it is successful or unsuccessful. If you opt out, you will not receive any benefit if the action is successful.
Will there be any cost to class members for legal fees?
Typically, class actions are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that the class action lawyers will be paid only if the class action is successful at trial or settled. In that case, class counsel fees may be paid by the defendants or out of the settlement or judgment proceeds as approved by the court.
I still have questions…
Please feel to contact us (see below).
Lawrence Johnson, President
British Columbia Government Retired Employees' Association
PO Box 791, Station A, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5M2
Fax 250-751-8733 smart ring
Toll Free 1-866-729-9299