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Supreme Court of Canada sides with women in RCMP pension dispute

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says women who took part in the RCMP’s job-sharing program while raising young children were unfairly denied the chance to bolster their pensions.

In a decision today, the high court accepted the arguments of three mothers who worked reduced hours on the national police force in order to devote time to their children.

The women argued the RCMP pension plan breached their equality rights under the charter by denying them the benefit of accruing full-time pension credit for periods when they temporarily worked reduced hours for family reasons.

They pointed out that under the plan, RCMP members can accrue pensionable service during leaves of absence, such as maternity, sick or education leaves, provided the member pays both the employer and employee contributions for the leave period.

But members who temporarily reduce their hours of work see their pensions diminished, as they are not given the option of “buying back” full-time pension credit for the hours not worked.

The women, all now retired from the force, were unsuccessful in the Federal Court and in a subsequent appeal, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear their case.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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