Original language of petition: English
Therefore, we the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon on the Minister of Veterans Affairs to immediately act to eliminate the "marriage after 60" clause and ensure that the spouse, or common-law partner, of a Veteran who married after age 60 automatically receives the superannuation benefit.
The Canadian Armed Forces offer competitive salaries and world-class benefit packages that start on the first day of a member’s service, up until after they retire. To ensure members are fairly compensated for their service to Canada, National Defence continues to work to better reflect today’s reality for Canada’s Veterans.
The Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, which governs the Canadian Forces Pension Plan, allows for the payment of a benefit to a survivor or eligible children if a marriage or common-law relationship is established before the Canadian Armed Forces pensioner is age 60.
The age limit of 60 for the Canadian Service Pension Plan was implemented in recognition of the fact that Canadian Armed Forces members tend to retire at an age earlier than the average Canadian. In 1994, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that this provision does not discriminate on the basis of age, and is not in breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Sutherland v. Canada, 1994). The Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal this decision.
It is common among pension plans in Canada to limit eligibility for survivor benefits to the spouse or partner that existed when the plan member was employed. In doing so, pension plans do not take responsibility for changes in a personal status once that person is no longer employed.
The Canadian Forces Pension plan, however, provides a more generous benefit than most pension plans, by offering an automatic survivor benefit to partners so long as the marriage or common law union began prior to age 60, irrespective of when the member retired.
Additionally, in 1992, the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act was amended to give plan members some flexibility in their ability to provide protection for their post-retirement spouses or common-law partners acquired after reaching age 60. These amendments introduced the Optional Survivor Benefit, which provides Canadian Armed Forces members with the option to reduce their pensions by 30, 40, or 50 percent in order to provide a corresponding benefit for their surviving spouse. The reduction continues for the lifetime of the pensioner unless his or her spouse predeceases him or her, or the marriage is dissolved by divorce or annulment, in which case the full pension benefit is reinstated to the member from there forward.
Budget 2019 announced the Veterans Survivors Fund to support Veterans who married over age 60 and their spouses. At that time, however, data on the survivor population was not available. Since this time, Veterans Affairs Canada has worked to identify the size and characteristics of the survivor population. The Department is using the information to determine how best to support these survivors.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.