Law:Department of Veterans Affairs Act

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R.s.c., 1985, c. V-1

An Act respecting the Department of Veterans Affairs


Contents

Short Title

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Department of Veterans Affairs Act.

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 1; 2000, c. 34, s. 95(F).


Establishment Of The Department

Department established

2. (1) There is hereby established a department of the Government of Canada called the Department of Veterans Affairs over which the Minister of Veterans Affairs appointed by commission under the Great Seal shall preside.

Minister

(2) The Minister holds office during pleasure and has the management and direction of the Department.

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 2; 2000, c. 34, s. 94(F).

Deputy head

3. The Governor in Council may appoint an officer called the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs to hold office during pleasure and to be the deputy head of the Department.

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 3; 2000, c. 34, s. 94(F).


Powers, Duties And Functions Of The Minister

Powers, duties and functions of Minister

4. The powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend and apply to

(a) the administration of such Acts of Parliament, and of such orders of the Governor in Council, as are not by law assigned to any other department of the Government of Canada or any Minister thereof, relating to

(i) the care, treatment or re-establishment in civil life of any person who served in the Canadian Forces or merchant navy or in the naval, army or air forces or merchant navies of Her Majesty, of any person who has otherwise engaged in pursuits relating to war, and of any other person designated by the Governor in Council, and

(ii) the care of the dependants or survivors of any person referred to in subparagraph (i); and

(b) all such other matters and such boards and other bodies, subjects, services and properties of the Crown as may be designated, or assigned to the Minister, by the Governor in Council.

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 4; 2000, c. 34, s. 11.

Gifts and bequests

4.1 The Minister may accept and administer any property and moneys that are conveyed to the Minister for the benefit of a class or subclass of persons referred to in subparagraph 4(a)(i) or (ii), on such terms and conditions as are set out in the conveyance or, if none are set out, on such terms and conditions as the Minister deems reasonable.

2000, c. 34, s. 12.


Regulations

Regulations

5.  The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) specifying the persons or classes of persons, from within those referred to in subparagraphs 4(a)(i) and (ii), who are entitled to any or all of the care, treatment or other benefits authorized by regulations made under this section, and respecting the circumstances in which a person may receive any such care, treatment or other benefit;

(b) for the control and management of any hospital, home or other institution used by Her Majesty for the care or treatment of persons referred to in subparagraph 4(a)(i) or (ii), including regulations setting out the grounds on which the Minister may discharge a person from such a hospital, home or other institution;

(c) respecting

(i) with respect to any hospital, home or institution described in paragraph (b), the care or treatment to be provided, and

(ii) with respect to any hospital, home or institution other than one described in paragraph (b), the care or treatment that the Minister will pay for in whole or in part, the circumstances in which the Minister will pay in whole or in part, and the circumstances in which the Minister may cease to pay in whole or in part;

(c.1)  respecting

(i) the circumstances in which a person is required to make payments in respect of all or part of the cost of accommodation and meals in a hospital, home or institution, whether or not it is one described in paragraph (b),

(ii) the calculation of the payments referred to in subparagraph (i), and

(iii) the method and arrangement for making the payments referred to in subparagraph (i);

(d) for the receipt and retention of any properties or moneys held or payable by the Crown or any other authority, person or persons on behalf of any persons or their dependants whenever such persons are being or have been cared for under the provisions of this Act, either by medical treatment, training or otherwise, and for giving therefor a valid receipt, and in the case of insane persons who are being or have been so cared for under this Act, the assumption or authorization of guardianship in whole or in part in respect of such properties or moneys, and for the disposal of such properties or moneys to such persons or their dependants, or as may be deemed expedient or the disposal thereof to the estates of such persons if deceased;

(e) respecting payments, grants or allowances to be made to persons and their dependants and survivors whenever such persons are receiving or have received care, treatment or other benefits under

(i) regulations made under this section, or

(ii) any other enactment that incorporates by reference regulations made under this section;

(e.1) respecting occasional financial assistance to be given to persons and their dependants and survivors to meet emergencies or unexpected financial contingencies or to relieve financial distress;

(f) with respect to reciprocal or other arrangements with the government of any country for

(i) the care, treatment and training of persons who have served in the naval, army or air forces of any such government when cared for under the provisions of this Act, either by medical treatment, training or otherwise, or of their dependants,

(ii) the issue of payments, grants or allowances to the persons mentioned in subparagraph (i),

class="Subparagra(iii) the assumption or authorization of guardianship in respect of properties or moneys of the persons mentioned in subparagraph (i) or of any persons who may be the beneficiaries of any of the said governments and the dependants of such persons, and

(iv) the disposal of the properties or moneys contemplated in subparagraph (iii) to the persons therein mentioned or to the estates of those persons if deceased;

(g) subject to such appropriations as Parliament may provide, for furnishing former members of the Canadian Forces, the naval, army or air forces of Her Majesty or any of Her Majesty’s allies with the following services, advantages and financial aid:

(i) sheltered employment, including after-care of the tuberculous,

(ii) free transportation in Canada in the case of former members pensioned for total blindness or for a disability necessitating an escort when travelling,

(iii) (Repealed, 1990, c. 43, s. 1)

(iv) the treatment of former members classified as wholly incurable or chronically recurrent cases needing institutional care,

(v) measures of unemployment relief to both former members and their dependants, and

(vi) compensation in respect of industrial accidents;

(g.1) for providing, maintaining and replacing gravemarkers and for providing financial assistance towards the expenses of last sickness, funeral, burial and cremation, in respect of a person, in cases where

(i) the death of the person was caused wholly or in part by a disability in respect of which an award was payable under the Pension Act or under any enactment incorporating that Act by reference,

(i.1) the person died of an injury or a disease for which a disability award or a death benefit was payable under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act,

(ii) the person was, at the time of death, in receipt of care or treatment in respect of a disability described in subparagraph (i),

(iii) there are insufficient funds, as determined under the regulations, for the person’s funeral, burial or cremation, or

(iv) another department or agency of the Government of Canada, or the government of another country, requests the Department to provide any gravemarker, service or assistance referred to in this paragraph and agrees in writing to reimburse the Department for the cost;

(g.2) for determining what constitutes insufficient funds for the purposes of subparagraph (g.1)(iii);

(g.3) respecting procedures and terms and conditions relating to the provision of any gravemarker, service or assistance referred to in paragraph (g.1);

(g.4) establishing standards relating to any gravemarker, service or assistance referred to in paragraph (g.1);

(g.5) authorizing the Minister to establish, subject to any regulation made under paragraph (g.4), standards relating to any gravemarker, service or assistance referred to in paragraph (g.1);

(g.6) providing for the Minister to enter into agreements with any body under which that body undertakes to administer the provision of any or all gravemarkers, services or assistance referred to in paragraph (g.1);

(g.7) respecting matters that must be included in agreements referred to in paragraph (g.6);

(h) respecting

class="Subparag(i) the provision of benefits, similar to those provided under regulations made under paragraphs (b) to (g.7) or to those provided under Acts and orders referred to in paragraph 4(a), to persons who were employees or agents of the Government of Canada during World War II as that war is defined in subsection 3(1) of the Pension Act, and to their dependants and survivors, and

(ii) the application of any of the provisions of the Acts and orders referred to in paragraph 4(a) to those benefits, persons, dependants and survivors; and

(i)�(Repealed, 2000, c. 34, s. 13)

(j) for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act with respect to any matter placed under the control and management of the Minister.

(2) and (3) (Repealed, 1990, c. 43, s. 1)

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 5; 1990, c. 43, s. 1; 1999, c. 10, s. 37; 2000, c. 34, s. 13; 2001, c. 4, s. 126; 2005, c. 21, s. 100.

Previous Version5.1 (1) to (3) (Not in force)

Claims for past interest

(4) No claim shall be made after this subsection comes into force for or on account of interest on moneys held or administered by the Minister during any period prior to January 1, 1990 pursuant to subsection 41(1) of the Pension Act, subsection 15(2) of the War Veterans Allowance Act or any regulations made under section 5 of this Act.

1990, c. 43, s. 2.


Overpayments

Definition of "overpayment"

5.2 (1) In this section, “overpayment”, in relation to any period, means

(a) a payment that was paid to a person in respect of that period and to which the person had no entitlement under the regulations made under section 5; or

(b) if a payment was paid to a person in respect of that period that was in excess of the amount of the payment to which the person was entitled under the regulations made under section 5, the amount of that excess.

Recovery of overpayments

(2) If, through any cause, an overpayment is paid to a person, the overpayment is a debt due to Her Majesty by that person or by that person’s estate or succession, and

(a) may be recovered by deduction from any future payments made under the regulations made under section 5 to that person or to that person’s estate or succession;

(b) may be recovered in accordance with section 155 of the Financial Administration Act; and

(c) may be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Remission of overpayments

(3) If a person has received or obtained an overpayment and the Minister is satisfied that

(a) the overpayment cannot be recovered within the reasonably foreseeable future,

(b) the administrative costs of recovering the overpayment are likely to equal or exceed the amount to be recovered,

(c) repayment of the overpayment would cause undue hardship to the person, or

(d) the overpayment is the result of an administrative error, delay or oversight on the part of a public servant,

the Minister may, unless that person has been convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code in connection with the receiving or obtaining of the overpayment, remit all or any portion of the overpayment.

Recovery from survivor

(4) Where a survivor of a deceased person retains any amount paid to that person after the last day of the month in which that person died, that amount may be deducted from any amount payable to the survivor under the regulations made under section 5.

2000, c. 34, s. 14.


Oaths And Affidavits

Taking oaths, etc.

6. (1) Any officer or employee of the Department authorized by the Minister may, in the course of their employment and subject to any other Act of Parliament or any Act of the legislature of a province, administer oaths and take and receive affidavits, declarations and solemn affirmations for the purpose of the administration of this Act or the regulations, and every person so authorized has, with respect to any such oath, affidavit, declaration or affirmation, all the powers of a commissioner for taking affidavits.

Acceptance of oaths, etc.

(2) The Minister may accept, for the purpose of the administration of this Act or the regulations, any oath administered or any affidavit, declaration or solemn affirmation taken or received by any officer or employee of

(a) a department in, or other portion of, the federal public administration specified in Schedule I, IV or V to the Financial Administration Act, or

(b) a department of the government of a province

who has all the powers of a commissioner for taking affidavits.

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 6; 2000, c. 34, s. 14; 2003, c. 22, s. 161.

Previous Version

Bureau Of Pensions Advocates

Bureau continued

6.1 (1) There is hereby continued the Bureau of Pensions Advocates, consisting of a Chief Pensions Advocate and such other pensions advocates, officers and employees as may be required for the performance of the duties of the Bureau, and the Bureau shall form part of the Department.

Qualifications of pensions advocates

(2) The Chief Pensions Advocate and each pensions advocate shall be appointed from among persons who are members of the bar of a province.

1995, c. 18, s. 101; 2000, c. 34, s. 94(F).

Bureau’s duties

6.2 (1) It is the duty of the Bureau, on request,

(a) to assist applicants and pensioners in the preparation of applications for review or of appeals under the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Act; and

(b) to arrange for applicants and pensioners to be represented by a pensions advocate at hearings on review or appeals under that Act.

Bureau to act as solicitor

(2) The relationship between the Bureau and a person requesting its assistance is that of solicitor and client, and the Bureau shall not be required in any proceedings before the Veterans Review and Appeal Board to disclose any information or material in its possession relating to any such person.

Inconsistency with other provisions

(3) If there is any inconsistency between subsection (2) and any other provision of this Act or any provision of any other enactment administered by the Minister, subsection (2) prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

1995, c. 18, s. 101; 2000, c. 34, s. 15.


Information

Forms

6.3 Every application or other document required or permitted by the regulations, or by any enactment incorporating the regulations by reference, must be made or given in the form required by the Minister.

2000, c. 34, s. 16.

Definition of "personal information"

6.4 In sections 6.5 to 6.9, “personal information” has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

2000, c. 34, s. 16.

Combining information

6.5 The Minister may combine in any single document, and in any electronic form, the collection of personal information required for the purposes of this Act, the regulations, and other enactments administered by the Minister.

2000, c. 34, s. 16.

Information that shall be made available to Minister

6.6 The following personal information relating to a person referred to in subparagraph 4(a)(i) shall, if requested by the Minister, be made available to the Minister for the purpose of determining or verifying the service or medical history of the person in order to determine eligibility for a benefit under the regulations or under any enactment incorporating the regulations by reference:

(a) personal information collected or obtained by the Department of National Defence in the administration of the National Defence Act or the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces, or any predecessor enactment relating to the same subject-matter;

(b) personal information collected or obtained by the Department of Transport in the administration of the Aeronautics Act or the Canada Shipping Act, or any predecessor enactment relating to the same subject-matter;

(c) personal information collected or obtained by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in the administration of the Indian Act, or any predecessor enactment relating to the same subject-matter; and

(d) personal information collected or obtained by the Library and Archives of Canada in the administration of the Library and Archives of Canada Act, or any predecessor enactment relating to the same subject-matter.

2000, c. 34, s. 16; 2004, c. 11, s. 27.

Previous VersionInformation that Minister may disclose

6.7 Personal information that has been collected or obtained by the Minister in the administration of this Act, the regulations, or any enactment incorporating this Act or the regulations by reference, may be disclosed by the Minister

(a) to any person or body, to the extent that the disclosure is necessary in order for the Minister to obtain from that person or body information that the Minister requires for the administration of this Act, the regulations, or any other enactment administered by the Minister;

(b) to any officer or employee of the Department, to the extent that the disclosure is required for the administration of this Act, the regulations, or any other enactment administered by the Minister;

(c) to any person or body, to the extent that the disclosure is required for the purpose of obtaining a payment due to Canada by

(i) the United Nations, or

(ii) another international organization or another country, pursuant to an international agreement;

(d) to the Department of Social Development, to the extent that the disclosure is required for the administration of the Old Age Security Act or the Canada Pension Plan; and

(e) to the Correctional Service of Canada, to the extent that the disclosure is required for the administration of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

2000, c. 34, s. 16; 2005, c. 35, s. 66.

Previous VersionDisclosure in legal proceedings

6.8 Notwithstanding any other Act or law, no member of the federal public administration shall be required to disclose personal information that has been collected or obtained for the purposes of this Act, the regulations, or any enactment incorporating this Act or the regulations by reference, in any legal proceedings, except

(a) criminal proceedings; or

(b) proceedings on a review, appeal, reconsideration or judicial review relating to an application made under this Act, the regulations, or any enactment incorporating this Act or the regulations by reference.

2000, c. 34, s. 16; 2003, c. 22, s. 224(E).

Previous VersionSocial Insurance Numbers

6.9 If a Social Insurance Number has been used to identify the service or medical records of a person referred to in paragraph 4(a), the minister or other authority having custody of those records and the Minister may use the Social Insurance Number for the purpose of making available those records.

2000, c. 34, s. 16.


Annual Report

Annual report

7. The Minister shall cause to be laid before each House of Parliament, not later than the fifth sitting day of that House after January 31 next following the end of each fiscal year, a report showing the operations of the Department for that fiscal year.

R.S., 1985, c. V-1, s. 7; 1992, c. 1, s. 140.


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