Nova Scotia

Widows reimbursed years after husbands died on the job

There was a tearful moment in the Nova Scotia legislature on Friday as the government tabled legislation to reimburse pensions denied to 108 remarried widows whose husbands were killed on the job.

Cut off from Workers’ Compensation Benefits because they remarried before 1985

There was a tearful moment in the Nova Scotia legislature on Friday as the government tabled legislation to reimburse pensions denied to 108 remarried widows whose husbands were killed on the job.

The women were cut off from Workers’ Compensation Benefits because they remarried before April 17, 1985. The provincial government reinstated benefits in 1999, but didn’t pay all of the back-pay.

The amended Widows Pension Act now ensures they get full benefits, about $110,000 each.

Betty Baumann of Glace Bay, whose first husband was killed in a rock fall at the Devco Mine in Cape Breton in a coal mine in 1960, led the group's fight for the change.

"[It’s] just like winning the lottery, because we have a lot of widows that are not well. I have a lady in British Columbia. She's in a wheelchair and I called her to let her know what was going on and she said, 'Now I can pay for my medication' without worrying about where she was going to get the money," said Baumann.

She said she's glad the government has settled the issue once and for all.

The government said most of the compensation will come from the Workers' Compensation Board's accident fund, which covers workers injured on the job.

Self-insured employers, such as the provincial government, would be responsible for their portion of the cost.

with files from the Canadian Press

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