OTTAWA — The Harper government says it’s looking to see what can be done for reservists who have discovered not all of their military pension counts towards their eventual civil service retirement.
Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole calls it “a specific and small situation” for part-time members, but says the government wants to see ex-soldiers take advantage of a new federal law providing fast-track access to the civil service.
Beth Lepage, a former air force captain, says a portion of her Canadian Forces pension — accumulated as a part-time member — can’t be converted because of a difference in the way government and military retirement benefits are calculated.
Lepage and the military ombudsman, Gary Walbourne, say that will be a significant barrier to ex-soldiers applying for federal jobs.
In order to fix the problem, the federal Treasury Board would have to rewrite the regulations governing how pension funds are converted — something it has so far refused to do.
There are some 30 cases in the system similar to that of Lepage, but O’Toole denies the pension would be a disincentive for reservists to apply.