Nova Scotia Government to Reimburse Widows for Unpaid Benefits

More than 100 women whose husbands died on the job will receive pension benefits denied to them because they remarried before April 17, 1985.

The government of Nova Scotia, Canada, announced April 19 it plans to reimburse pension benefits to more than 100 widows whose husbands died on the job but were denied benefits because they remarried before April 17, 1985.

In 1999, the province changed legislation so remarried women continued to receive their survivor's benefits, retroactive to the date they remarried. Benefits for women who remarried before 1985 were retroactive only to 1999. Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett introduced changes to the Workers' Compensation Act on April 19 to ensure those women also get full retroactive benefits.

He credited Betty Bauman of Glace Bay for leading the group of women fighting for this change. He husband had died in a coal mine in 1960, leaving her, then 26, with three young daughters.

"Every woman whose husband was killed on the job deserves to be treated fairly and compensated properly," said Corbett. "In the past, that didn't happen. That's not acceptable, and we're doing something about it because it's the right thing to do."

Four other Canadian provinces have paid back these benefits, as well.

Most of this compensation will come from the Workers' Compensation Board accident fund, which covers workers injured on the job. Employers who self-insure, such as the province of Nova Scotia, will be responsible for their portion of the cost.

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