Class-action suit against Ontario government given the green light

Retirees suing over change in supplemental health-care benefits

A class-action lawsuit by former employees of the Ontario government has been certified by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The suit was filed on behalf of all retired former employees receiving coverage under the supplemental health and hospital insurance, dental and life insurance plan as of June 1, 2002. Now that it has been certified, affected members will be notified and litigation will proceed.

The plaintiffs claim the Ontario government had no legal right to change their retirement benefits after they retired and that the reductions were made in contravention of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The class action was brought by Barbara Kranjcec, a Mississauga, Ont., resident, on behalf of an estimated 60,000 Ontario government retirees. Kranjcec suffers from multiple disabilities and said she has been forced to pay an increased amount towards deductibles and other health care expenses because of the changes to the plan.

In the statement of claim Kranjcec said the government’s actions were “arbitrary, callous and high-handed … in unilaterally altering their retirement benefits contrary to their legal rights, and at a time when retirees were most vulnerable to health problems and could least afford to assume increased financial burdens."

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