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Retired Sask. reservist says he's being denied teaching pension benefit
Retired reservist Rod Dignean speaks to the media in Regina on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jennifer Graham
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 9, 2017 5:00PM CST
A retired reservist who served in Afghanistan says he's being denied the opportunity to buy back pension benefits for his teaching job.
Rod Dignean took a one-year leave from his position at a Saskatchewan school for a tour of duty with the Canadian Armed Forces in 2013.
Dignean says he's since been trying to buy back pension benefits through the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, but has been told he's not eligible because he wasn't on an educational leave.
The 60-year-old says he assumed he could buy back the benefits because he was being deployed on behalf of Canada.
"I felt disappointed that the (teachers federation) retirement fund wouldn't support me as both a member of the (federation) and also as a veteran," Dignean said Thursday in Regina, where his case was raised in the Saskatchewan legislature.
He said his case is not about the money, but "the principle behind it."
"I'm not doing this for myself. It's not about me," said Dignean.
"It's about the veterans that may have gone before me and the ones that will come after me, who might be in the educational field that I believe deserve this level of equality."
Dignean has been a teacher for 29 years. Nine years were spent teaching on a reserve, so he wasn't part of the teachers federation during that time.
In Afghanistan, he was a logistical mentor to two Afghan colonels in a hospital in downtown Kabul.
He retired from the Army in August.
Saskatchewan Labour Minister Don Morgan said the province has legislation to protect reservists' jobs. Morgan said he has asked the ministry to find out more about Dignean's pension situation and a possible remedy.
"I'll be looking forward to meeting with him and trying to find out what the stumbling block is," Morgan said.