B.C. court rejects military benefits challenge
VANCOUVER - The B.C. Court of Appeal has rejected a constitutional challenge launched over death benefits paid to military spouses.
The benefit is double an annual salary, but under federal legislation, it's reduced by 10 per cent for every year a person dies over the age of 65.
Surviving spouses filed a class action lawsuit, alleging the benefit reductions amounted to age discrimination under the Charter of Rights.
The spouses appealed to the higher court after their challenge was rejected in B.C. Supreme Court.
The appeal court says the reductions don't constitute age discrimination because the overall death benefit and pension scheme is designed to cover competing interests of various age groups covered by the plan.
The court says the death benefit is aimed more at younger members of the plan who die unexpectedly and where the spouse is not protected by a pension.