Un tribunal a donné raison à une veuve du Nouveau-Brunswick : le Régime de Pension du Canada enfreint ses droits constitutionnels. Voilà ce qu’une femme qui sait qu’elle a raison peut faire…, à l’occasion, si elle vit longtemps, si la constitution protège ses droits, si le système gouvernemental lui donne droit de faire appel sans avocat, si elle est vraiment entêtée.
Robena Weatherley, 88 ans, de Cambridge Narrows, n’a pu intéresser aucun organisme, avocat ou programme d’aide à son cas. Mais elle a persévéré, payé de sa poche et a gagné. C’est pour dire.
Sommaire : Robena Weatherley recevait une pension de survivante du Régime de Pension du Canada après le décès de son premier mari, mort à 36 ans en 1969. Sa pension a été annulée lors de son remariage en 1973, car la loi estimait alors qu’elle n’en avait plus besoin puisqu’elle s’était remariée. La loi a été modifiée en 1987 avec l’entrée en vigueur de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. Mme Weatherley a alors de nouveau perçu une pension de survivant de son premier mari. Cette pension a de nouveau été annulée suite à la mort de son deuxième mari en 2012. Mme Weatherley reçoit alors une pension de survivant basée uniquement sur les cotisations de son second mari. Elle fait appel de l’annulation en 2012 de sa pension de son premier mariage. Ses deux pensions de survivante combinées seraient inférieures au maximum autorisé par le RPC. En octobre 2018, elle s’est représentée elle-même devant le Tribunal de la Sécurité sociale, à Fredericton. Le 12 janvier 2019, le Tribunal déclara que la Loi porte atteinte à son droit à l’égalité en vertu de la Charte
(La décision et le communiqué ne sont qu’en anglais. Le lien vers la décision est donné à la fin de ce texte.)
Brunswick woman has won her claim that the Canada Pension Plan Act infringes
her equality rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Weatherley, 88, twice widowed, of Cambridge-Narrows, had appealed the section
of the Act that prevented her from receiving a pension based on the
contributions of both her husbands to the CPP. She represented herself before
the Social Security Tribunal.
decision given January 12, 2019, the Tribunal agreed with Mrs. Weatherley that
the Act infringes her equality rights under the Charter and that the
infringement is not justified.
Weatherley had argued that the Act arbitrarily excludes people who have been
widowed more than once, and that it is discriminatory based on sex and marital
status. She said to the federal Tribunal that the law perpetuates the
historical disadvantages of widows by undervaluing their contributions within
pursued this as a matter of principle at some financial cost to me, not for
personal gain but in hopes that this injustice could be corrected for all
Canadians in my situation, » said Mrs Weatherley.n droit
Tribunal concluded, “Section 63(6) of the CPP infringes the claimant’s equality
rights under section 15(1) of the Charter and the Minister has failed to meet
its burden to establish that it is a demonstrably justified limit in a free and
democratic society. The impugned provision is of no force and effect in so far
as it relates to the Claimant. She is entitled to her survivor’s pension in
relation to both of her marriages.”
Minister of Employment and Social Development has 90 days to decide whether to
appeal the decision.
Pension Plan is a mandatory contributory pension paid by employees and
employers with the understanding that the employee or their survivor will
benefit. However, one section of the Act states that, even if more than one
survivor’s benefit is payable under the Act, only one will be paid.
decision, the Tribunal wrote that this section, which dates from 1975, was
based on the “now discredited view that when a woman remarried she no longer
needed the survivor’s benefit because she had a new man to take care of her.”
of the Act were modified when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into
force in the mid-80s, but not that section which affects Mrs. Weatherley and
many other Canadians widowed more than once.
provisions apply to all Canadians, male and female, but the effect falls
largely on women, many of them elderly and in impoverished conditions. Evidence
quoted by the Tribunal showed that 81 percent of survivor benefit recipients
were women in 2015.
Weatherley’s first husband died at age 36 in 1969. She began receiving a CPP
survivor’s benefit after his death. That benefit was terminated when she
remarried in 1973 but sometime after the coming into force of the Charter in
1987, the pension restarted. When her second husband died in 2012, Mrs.
Weatherley was told she could only receive one benefit, even though both
households had contributed. She protested and appealed.
it was wrong to lose the survivor pension the first time and I thought it was
wrong the second time,” said Mrs Weatherley. “I found it hard to accept that my
contribution to the family household was ignored and I was denied a benefit to
which I had contributed. I considered this to be an important principle. I am
happy the Tribunal has agreed. »
Pension Plan has a “cap » on the maximum amount of survivor benefit or
combined benefits. The Tribunal wrote that this will mean persons in Mrs.
Weatherley’s situation will not be entitled to receive a combined benefit that
exceeds the maximum retirement benefit.
recognize that CPP must have limitations in order to be sustainable. But that
is taken care of by the cap,” said Mrs. Weatherley. “The pension to which a
survivor of more than one deceased spouse is entitled is limited by the maximum
monthly amount. In my case, my two survivor’s pensions would be less than the
maximum amount. The Government can manage costs without infringing on my
Tribunal agreed and wrote, “The Minister has the burden of proof and I find
that it has failed to establish on the balance of probabilities, a pressing and
substantial objective to justify the limit of one survivor’s benefit.”
Tribunal also wrote, “It is somewhat self-contradictory that the CPP now
recognizes that the claimant was entitled to receive a survivor’s benefit in
relation to her first husband while her second husband was alive, but took the
entitlement away when he died. If she was entitled to a survivor’s pension in
relation to her first husband because of her contributions to the family, there
was no principled basis for her to lose that entitlement when her second
decision states, “The Claimant is a member of a historically disadvantaged
group and the impugned provision denies her the benefit of a survivor’s pension
to which she would otherwise be entitled. She does not take the position that
her financial needs are different than those of a once-widowed spouse. Rather,
her position is that she is being denied the benefit of her contributions to
her first family household which facilitated her first husband’s CPP
contributions. She would have made more CPP contributions and as such, have a
higher retirement pension, if she had not stayed home to raise her family and
support her husband in accordance with the mores, norms and values of her
generation. The Claimant’s claim is more than a financial claim, as argued by
the Minister. She is being denied the recognition of her contributions to her
first family household. This is a refusal to recognize a fundamental aspect of
her personal history. It is rooted in the view that the purpose of a survivor’s
pension is to replace lost income because a woman was financially reliant on a
sole male breadwinner, not to pay an entitlement that she earned. The limit of
one survivor’s pension perpetuates the historical failure to recognize women’s
non-employment contributions to the family.”
Robena Weatherley called upon two witnesses, Gaila Friars who was recognized by the Tribunal as qualified to give expert evidence concerning the experience of female seniors, and Rosella Melanson who was recognized by the Tribunal as qualified to give expert evidence concerning policy development on women’s issues and gender-based analysis.
La décision en anglais seulement à cette date: