Koskie Minsky LLP and McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP commenced a class action against Bell Canada and affiliates arising out of the alleged incorrect approach used by the Defendants to calculate the cost of living indexation pursuant to the Bell Canada Pension Plan. It was alleged that Bell Canada adopted the incorrect approach to indexation such that 34,000 retirees have been shortchanged with respect to the Cost of Living Adjustment for the 2017 year. The statement of claim, issued on January 16, 2018, was on behalf of all persons entitled to benefits under the Plan, and who were entitled to receive indexed pension payments as of January 1, 2017.
In 2020, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted Judgment to the Class and decided that the correct rate of indexation for 2017 was 2%, instead of 1%. Therefore, the pensioners should receive a retroactive payment from January 1, 2017 to date. In addition, pension amounts in the future are to be adjusted accordingly.
Since the release of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in this matter granting judgment to the class, the parties and their lawyers developed a plan for the necessary steps to implement the judgment and conclude the litigation. Bell Canada has agreed not to seek leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Plaintiff will seek Court approval to provide payment to class members of damages based on revised indexation to date, and to enhance pensions for future indexation.
The motions to implement the judgment and provide payment to the members, and ancillary matters, are to be heard virtually on July 9, 2021. The details of all of the motions and the relief sought can be found here in this Notice.
The plan for payment includes a retroactive payment, as well as increased pension payments going forward to reflect the increased indexation. The total amount of the retroactive payments to all Class members is estimated by an actuary to be in excess of $34.4 million on the date of the motion, before applicable deductions. These payments will be updated to the Payment Date and paid within 30 days. In addition, all future pension benefit payments to Class Members from the Plan after the Payment Date will reflect an indexation increase of 2% for the 2017 year rather than 1%. The actuaries previously estimated the total value (ie cost to the Plan) of the increased pension benefits to the Class Members over their lifetimes, including the retroactive payments, to be over $103 million.
The applicable deductions to the retroactive payments include the levy to the Class Proceedings Fund (which provided funding, and which levy is set by statute), an honorarium to the representative plaintiff, and Class Counsel legal fees, which will be determined in the motions being heard on July 9, 2021. Class counsel are seeking approval of legal fees of $10 million, plus disbursements and taxes, which represents approximately 9.7% of the estimated lifetime recovery for the Class (of over $103 million). The Class Proceedings Fund’s levy which is being sought includes the repayment of disbursements (approximately $85,000), and its levy of 10% of the net proceeds of the retroactive payment which, as of the motion date and assuming the other deductions, would be approximately $2.35 million.
We will post the Zoom details for the hearing to be held of July 9, 2021 so that class members may attend. Check back here closer to the motion date for the link.
For further information or if you have questions, please contact us at 1-866-777-6307, or by email at email@example.com.