New Brunswick Pension Coalition in court fighting for increase
Group making an argument under Charter of Rights that the government cannot get rid of promised raise
The province was in court Monday trying to have an application by the New Brunswick Pension Coalition tossed out.
The group is making an argument under the Charter of Rights that the government cannot get rid of a promised cost of living increase. The coalition says the pensioners paid into it and deserve it.
If the judge throws out the application, the pensioners say they will have no choice but to go to trial.
The province's lawyer, Steve Hutchison, argued in court that pensioners should not have been filing an application, but that it should be a trial.
An application relies on affidavits and an agreed statement of facts. Hutchison argued there is no agreement on a statement of facts in this case.
On the other side, lawyer Ari Kaplan said a trial would be costly and expensive for his clients who are mostly elderly.
“This would delay the proceeding by a significant amount of time,” he said. “And for materials, I mean, the Pension Coalition of N.B. has limited funds, and this would be quite an expensive delay.”
Pensioner Nelson Michaud says it is hard on all pensioners who are wondering from year to year whether or not they will get their cost of living increase.
“Some people have a hard time.” he said. “People working in hospital in the laundry, or in housekeeping, they're not making a fortune. so they need whatever they have.”
Hutchison suggested given there's a new government, there might be new discussions with the pensioners.
Justice Terrence Morrison said he will not be considering that in his written decision.