OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada says several major public unions are not entitled to a $28-billion pension surplus that the government hived off to help pay down the deficit.

The unanimous high court ruled 9-0 that the government does not have a “fiduciary obligation” to return funds to the public sector unions.

The ruling ends a long legal battle dating back to the 1990s in which unions representing public servants, the RCMP and the military wanted the surplus money returned.

The unions and professional associations were attempting to overturn an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that said they weren’t entitled to the money.

The unions argued that the government improperly took their money, from the mandatory, defined benefit plans.

The plans are among some of the most handsome pensions in the country.