Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

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Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by RobbieRoyal on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 10:21

WHAT GIVES HERE TROOPS ANY INPUT THIS IS THE FIRST REAL LEGIT CLAIM< how do you think this will unfold?

A Winnipeg soldier turfed from the military because she is disabled is suing the Canadian government, alleging her ouster violated her charter rights.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, asks the court to strike down the "universality of service" rule that mandates all uniformed personnel must be ready for combat deployment at all times. The case could have broad repercussions for the hundreds of disabled soldiers, including those with mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, mustered out of the Armed Forces every year against their wishes.

"It feels like you've been thrown out, almost punitive," said Louise Groulx, a former master corporal at 17 Wing. "Those who make the rules have no idea the impact this has on a soldier's soul or heart. We're not disposable."

Groulx, a single mother who served in Haiti during the 1995 peacekeeping mission, badly injured her back in the summer of 1999 during a baseball game on the base, part of her mandatory physical-training requirements. Five surgeries were needed that year to correct a herniated disc. During one, her spinal column was nicked and she was left on a gurney for more than two days with cerebrospinal fluid leaking out from a wet wound that went untreated with antibiotics. From that, she contracted bacterial meningitis, which caused further damage. That debacle left Groulx with post-traumatic stress.

She returned to work at 17 Wing a year after the injury and said she could perform 90 per cent of her duties as an aero-medical technician, a highly specialized trade that involves training all military air crew on the physiological effects of flight.

The only duty she couldn't perform was entering the hypo- and hyperbaric chambers used for training and for emergency treatment, but that amounted to just 10 per cent of her job.

"I loved what I was doing," said the former medic. "I have never had a more supportive group of people."

Not long after returning to work, Groulx was formally assigned "medical employment limitations" which typically trigger a review to determine whether a soldier's injuries put them in breach of the universality policy.

That was a long, complex process for Groulx, as it is for many soldiers. The Canadian Forces gives severely wounded troops up to three years to recover. If they are then unable to meet the standards for combat deployment, the process of medical discharge kicks in.

In 2005, officials in Ottawa decided Groulx was in breach of the rule, but because her trade was critical to operational capability, she was given a temporary reprieve and allowed to remain in the Forces.

Despite hard lobbying by her superior officers, Groulx's reprieve ran out in 2009 and she was finally discharged after a decade of doing her job despite her back injury.

Groulx said she loved being in the military, had no backup plan and cried at her retirement party.

"Talking about my release is still so raw and it shouldn't be after five years," said Groulx. "I think it's an injustice, not just to me but there's many out there who have been let go under universality of service."

Groulx is asking the Court of Queen's Bench to declare the rule, in place since 1985, a violation of the equality clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of physical disability. She is also seeking damages.

"There are all these soldiers like Louise, serving just fine, getting recognition, and then all of a sudden they're not good enough," said Groulx's lawyer, Corey Shefman.

Groulx's statement of claim contains allegations not proven in court, and it will be several weeks before the government files a statement of defence.

A spokesman for the Department of National Defence said he could not comment on the case as it's now before the courts.

But the issue of universality of service has made headlines over the last year, a year in which a rash of soldiers committed suicide. Last fall, several injured ex-soldiers told The Canadian Press they were shown the door on a medical release though they begged to retrain for other jobs within the military.

Many said they were released just shy of hitting the 10-year mark, when they would qualify for a fully indexed pension.

Earlier this year, Canada's outgoing military ombudsman, Pierre Daigle, told a parliamentary committee injured soldiers, especially those with PTSD, fear coming forward because they could lose their jobs and pensions. He called the universality rule arbitrary and unfair.

Groulx agreed, saying she knows many soldiers unwilling to come clean about an illness or injury, especially mental ones, for fear disclosure will trigger their dismissal.

Earlier this month, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson revealed a working group is studying the universality rule, following recommendations by the defence committee.

"This working group is examining how the policy can be best applied to retain individuals who are willing and able to serve, while also ensuring the necessary availability of all Canadian Armed Forces personnel to perform their lawful military service," Nicholson wrote to the committee.

Shefman said the universality rule has been challenged in court before, but no case ever progressed to the stage where a judge ruled on the policy's constitutionality.

Groulx was able to find work soon after her discharge but is now recovering from a sixth back surgery. She says she isn't angry at the Canadian Forces and would return to work as an aero-med tech "in a heartbeat."
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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Guest on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 11:15

sure buds since your asking ill tell ya .

appeal appeal appeal . she will win in the end IF she doesn't take a small settlement first. if she wins the DOJ will study the judge's decision see what the language in the rule the judges disliked and come up with a new rule to with the proper legal language to satisfy the judges yet accomplishing the same goals as the old universality rule.

my guess she will take a small QUIET settlement witch will save the DOJ a pile of work.

ya see in law it doesn't really matter what you say but how you say it.

jmo

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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by RobbieRoyal on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 15:30

I said the same thing ProPat but I do believe the time has come for DND and The GOC to make those changes that keep showing up on the floor of the HOC and as of last week all was forgotten until this country finally realized our soldiers are absolutely treated like shit. This is the first FEMALE SOLDIER to take the GOC to the mat, I say she will not settle for a small toss in the pan amount but rather I believe she will represent all soldiers and get her day in court, and to that I support her.
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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Rifleman on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 16:00

Yep I do believe settlement and not to be heard of again just my thoughts but then who really gives a shit about my opinion hope she does battle it out

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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Guest on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 18:33

robbi I really do hope she will fight it out but with the DOJs playbook of appeal after appeal it can really wear ya down so still think she will take the offer to come.

rifleman I give a crap about everything you say weather I agree with it or not .

in this case like most I agree.

propat

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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Guest on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 19:28

The outcome of this particular lawsuit could have a far reaching outcome for those previously released due to the Universality of Service clause if successful. Would not this be an open door to a class action for all formally released members who did not meet the standard of Universality? I am unsure at this point either way.

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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Trooper on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 19:54

Well the way I read this is that she is suing because she wanted to remain in the service,
she is clear when she states that she loved her job in the service.

She also states that she has found work after being released, if she can do the job on civie street, why could she not continue to work in the service.

This in my view is different then one who is suing for pension ect....

The "universality of service" would be a hard one for any Judge to strike down completely.

However, I do think that and amendment can be added to it for special circumstances.
In this particular case, one may view it as a special circumstance.

Which ever way one sees it, I do hope that they allow for her to re enter the service, so she continue to do, what she loves to do.


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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by pinger on Mon 27 Oct 2014, 20:07

I'm reminded of the recent fellow who was banged up and just prior to his 10 year mark, DND tried to turf him. He fought it, appealed it (?), and with the media's attention DND offered him an extended contract so he would have his 10 year mark and pension. Did he not decline that offer because it was not universal to help others? That speaks volumes.
Kinda like living with your own conscience if your blessed or cursed with having one.

Also... " In 2005, officials in Ottawa decided Groulx was in breach of the rule, but because her trade was critical to operational capability, she was given a temporary reprieve and allowed to remain in the Forces. "  That doesn't sound very universal either. But perhaps some DND rulebook has a prerogative in their interests (if her trade was in short supply and/or in times of need). I've forgotten the NDA and QRO's.

One things for sure to me, any GoC department can grind someone down.

Re: DoJ (and other dept.stores:) propat... " ya see in law it doesn't really matter what you say but how you say it. " Yes. Let me add. It's how it is written, interpreted, and twisted to someones purpose. Bloody wordplay and semantics. Shyte, if it don't work just revise the rulebook.

I hope this lady stands her ground. At the end of the day what would I do? What would you do? I wouldn't really know until I actually got there. pinger.
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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by RobbieRoyal on Tue 28 Oct 2014, 07:48

BOFORS, Universality of Service, National Defence Act are all written enabling DND full control over your career medically, this legal literature was often manipulated to weed out soldiers just as quickly as it was to protect their favourites. It is what it is and someone is challenging it, others will also.
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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by prawnstar on Tue 28 Oct 2014, 12:26

Propat said "ya see in law it doesn't really matter what you say but how you say it" which reminds me the old saying "anything you say will be taken down turned around and used against you". She sounds very determined. Hopefully her lawyer is a good buffer between her and DOJ so she won't cave in.

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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Guest on Tue 28 Oct 2014, 14:16

prawn depends on the lawyer and the arrangement she has with them. most lawyers want the biggest payout   for the shortest time spent on the case . if they are getting a percentage they may urge her to take a deal even if in HER bets interest to continue because the profit time ratio isn't their for THEM. if they are on a pay by hour arrangement they may urge her to carry on even if its NOT in HER best interest to carry on because the billable hours are their for THEM. if she has a good honest one she will be ok ( good luck finding one of those ) but I sudjest she gets a good set of BS filters when speaking with these guys because in the end she will have to decide.

jmo

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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by teentitan on Wed 29 Oct 2014, 13:25

Some good points made here but this isn't going to be bought out it is going to be fought by the GoC.

Face the facts the CAF has a limited amount of people and that is why the Universality of Service came into effect. Each CF member is important for deployment so the DND cannot be a military with walking wounded like in the USA.

UoS is equivalent to a Collective Bargaining Agreement in a union. It's a rule.

Yes they kept her at her job for an extra year but that was in an extreme circumstance. If you all remember when we released we all signed that if the country of Canada is in dire need of your services they can "recall you to service" until you are no longer required. Remember John Dechastelain former General who was the Canadian Ambassador in the US was recalled to service by Chretien to be the CDS? He used that very clause "recall to service" to explain why all the Generals at his disposal were not good enough to be the CDS.

She can go to the Court of Human Rights but she signed the paperwork and accepted the terms.

The GoC will fight this too because the line-up will be a mile long of guys wanting back in.
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Re: Forme Soldier sues DND over Universality Of Service

Post by Guest on Wed 29 Oct 2014, 16:44

well we will see either way but I still say settlement im now in case I wasn't clear that would be a small quiet out of court settlement . no winners no losers no changes to the legislation no walking wounded if you will clambering to get back in it just goes away.

the DOJ will do a cost/risk analysis on this ( in law their is always risk ) and they will use that to help determine how to proceed .

ya see they full well know if they fight this out and loose then they will have a pile of walking wounded clambering to get back in .

now this is a way oversimplified but ill throw it out their for an example ;

if they determine she is likely to go all the way to the supreme.

and their cost to fight this all the way would be 10,000.00

and all the subsequent costs of loosing would be around 100,000.00

if their risk of losing is low they may offer her 5,000.00 to go away

if their risk is medium they may offer her the full 10,000.00 so no risk and no real cost as they save that amount on court costs .

if they they figure the risk is high they will offer her the 10,000.00 plus lets just say 25% of the subsequent costs so another 25,000.00 so a total of 35,000.00 .

of course if the risk is high and someone up the line has determined that the rule MUST STAY IN PLACE AS WRITTEN AT ALL COSTS then that may go up.

now their are always political concerns to go with that.

someone up the line might think after so many losses against injured soldiers this might be the right time to fight an injured soldier and win.

or they might think that now is not the right time to fight an injured soldier and tell the DOJ to make this go away QUICKLY AND QUIETLY .

yup a lot of things to consider and any bodies guess is as good as mine but im still thinking small quiet settlement.

propat

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