Class action pension suits on the rise

Plaintiffs don't need to worry about paying defendants' legal costs
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/12/2007

In June 2002, when the Ontario government made changes to its benefit plan, a retired health ministry worker fought back.

The change included new deductibles for prescription drugs and dental services, elimination of out-of-country services and elimination of over-the-counter drug coverage. Citing breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties, Barbara Kranjcec, who retired in 1993 after 27 years of service, launched a class action suit that would grow to include 48,000 retirees.

Last month, a court approved a settlement that would see the Ontario government reimburse $20 million to the group, or about $350 each after legal fees. In addition, these retirees would be entitled to new benefits negotiated by the province’s public-sector union in 2005 and a drug benefit card, which meant they no longer have to pay out of pocket then claim for reimbursements.