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Civil servants' pensions: a judge rejects a first lawsuit Nadia Gaudreau - Radio Canada Friday January 21, 2022

Court of Queen's Bench Judge Tracey K. Deware sided with the New Brunswick
government against Guy Lévesque, a public service retiree who challenged in court the
2014 amendment to the pension plan model of several provincial officials.

Mr. Lévesque's lawsuit is the first of three lawsuits challenging these changes to obtain
a judgment.

The New Brunswick government faced an uproar when it moved to a shared-risk
pension plan in 2014 that no longer guarantees retired public servants fixed benefits.
The Progressive Conservative government of David Alward explained at the time that
the previous model, which included fixed benefits, had become unsustainable.

Proliferation of lawsuits

Three lawsuits have been launched, including the first in 2014 by Pension Coalition
New Brunswick. This lawsuit had been suspended pending the outcome of a second
lawsuit launched in 2015 by former Deputy Minister Guy Lévesque.

His lawsuit alleged that the officials' breach of contract was unlawful.

The third lawsuit was launched by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of
Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees and is not yet settled.

Guy Lévesque wanted to give up his place

The judgment reveals that Mr. Lévesque wanted to give up his place as plaintiff to the
president of the organization Pension Coalition, Claire Lepage in 2020. This request
was rejected.

In addition, the judge indicated that it was not possible for Ms. Lepage to include in a
new presentation arguments that the new pension law would violate the Canadian

Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Finally, Judge Deware granted the request of the province and the other defendants in
this case to issue summary judgment since there was no cause for trial.

Immunity protects defendants

In this summary judgment, it is indicated that Mr. Lévesque and Ms. Lepage have not
demonstrated that the changes made by the government have caused them harm. For
its part, the province submitted documents illustrating that Mr. Lévesque and Ms.
Lepage benefited from higher pensions after the implementation of the new plan.

Finally, the judge pointed out that beyond these arguments, provisions in the Pension

Benefits Act grant immunity to the government, unions and administrators.

The Court orders Mr. Lévesque to pay $10,000 to each of the defendants, namely the
province, the unions and the administrators.

Who are the defendants in this case

The list of defendants in this case includes the Province of New Brunswick, the New
Brunswick Union, the New Brunswick Nurses Union, Local 37 of the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“the Unions”), Marilyn Quinn, Susie Proulx-Daigle,
Ross Galbraith, Leonard Lee-White, Ernest L. MacKinnon, Mark Gaudet and Vestcor
Inc (“the directors”).

A disappointment for Guy Lévesque

Mr. Lévesque's lawyer, Gavin Giles of McInnes Cooper, said in an email that his client is
of course disappointed with the outcome of this very long and complex procedure.

Our client is nevertheless grateful to the Court for the attention it has given to his case
and for its very careful decision on the costs, which seems to have recognized the good
faith public interest of our client in the procedure he hired, adds Me Giles.

Contacted by Radio-Canada, Pension Coalition spokesperson Clifford Kennedy said the
board would review the decision and no further comment would be made at this time.

The province had not responded to requests from Radio-Canada at the time of this