1994 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 35th Parliament
The printed version remains the official version.
Certified correct as passed Third Reading on the
20th day of June, 1994
Ian D. Izard, Law Clerk.
HONOURABLE JOY MacPHAIL
MINISTER OF SOCIAL SERVICES
|2||Functions of advocate's office|
|3||Appointment of Child, Youth and Family Advocate|
|4||Powers of advocate|
|5||No power to act as legal counsel|
|6||Power to delegate|
|7||Right to information|
|8||Confidentiality of information|
|9||Communication by child or youth|
|10||Right to enter facility|
|12||Resignation, removal or suspension of advocate|
|14||Salary, expenses and benefits of advocate|
|16||Protection from liability|
|17||Power to make regulations|
1 In this Act:
"advocate" means the Child, Youth and Family Advocate appointed under section 3 and includes a person appointed under section 13 (1) to act as the Child, Youth and Family Advocate;
"child" means a person who
(a) is under 16 years of age, and
(b) receives or may be entitled to receive designated services;
"designated Act" means
(a) the Child, Family and Community Service Act, or
(b) another prescribed Act;
"designated service" means a service or program
(a) authorized, provided or funded under a designated Act,
(b) provided by a prescribed ministry, branch or agency of the government, or
(c) provided in a prescribed facility or class of facility;
"youth" means a person who
(a) is 16 years of age or over but is under 24 years of age, and
(b) receives or may be entitled to receive designated services.
2 The office of Child, Youth and Family Advocate is established
(a) to ensure that the rights and interests of children, youths and their families relating to designated services are protected and advanced and that their views are heard and considered,
(b) to ensure that children, youths and their families have access to fair, responsive and appropriate complaint and review processes at all stages in the provision of designated services,
(c) to provide information and advice to the government and communities about the availability, effectiveness, responsiveness and relevance of designated services to children, youths and their families,
(d) to promote and coordinate in communities the establishment of advocacy services for children, youths and their families, and
(e) to perform any other functions assigned to the advocate by an enactment.
3 (1) On the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor in Council must appoint as the Child, Youth and Family Advocate a person who has been unanimously recommended for the appointment by a special committee of the Legislative Assembly.
(2) The advocate is an officer of the Legislature.
(3) Subject to section 12, the advocate holds office for a term of 6 years.
(4) A person who is appointed under this section is eligible to be reappointed as advocate.
4 (1) In fulfilling the functions of the office, the advocate may
(a) investigate and review a case of one or more individuals or groups of them, whether or not a request or complaint is made,
(b) initiate and participate in, or assist children, youths and their families to initiate and participate in, case conferences, administrative reviews, mediations or other processes in which decisions are made about the provision of designated services,
(c) meet with and interview children, youths and their families,
(d) inform the public about the needs and rights of children, youths and their families, including their right to obtain assistance from the advocate,
(e) make recommendations about legislation, policies and practices respecting services for or the rights of children, youths and their families, and
(f) make agreements to assure the provision of advocacy services to children, youths and their families, including agreements with ministers, agencies and community organizations.
(2) In fulfilling the duties of the office, the advocate may try to resolve any matter through the use of negotiation, conciliation, mediation or other dispute resolution processes.
5 The advocate may not act as legal counsel.
6 The advocate may, in writing, delegate to any person, agency or community organization any duty, power or function of the advocate under this Act.
7 (1) The advocate has the right to any information that
(a) is in the custody or control of a public body as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and
(b) is necessary to enable the advocate to perform his or her duties and exercise powers or functions under this Act.
(2) A public body that has custody or control of information to which the advocate is entitled under subsection (1) must disclose that information to the advocate.
(3) This section applies despite any other enactment or any claim of privilege, except a claim based on a solicitor-client relationship.
8 The advocate and anyone acting for or under the direction of the advocate must not disclose or be compelled to disclose information obtained under this Act except for the purposes of carrying out the duties and exercising powers and functions of the advocate.
9 (1) If a child or youth in a foster home, group home, facility or other place in which designated services are provided asks to communicate with the advocate, the person in charge of that place must immediately forward the request to the advocate.
(2) If a child or youth in a foster home, group home, facility or other place in which designated services are provided writes a letter addressed to the advocate, the person in charge of that place must immediately forward the letter unopened to the advocate.
10 For the purpose of carrying out duties or exercising powers or functions under this Act, the advocate may, at any reasonable time, enter any premises in which designated services are provided to children or youths.
11 (1) The advocate must report annually to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on the work of the advocate's office.
(2) The Speaker must lay each annual report before the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible.
12 (1) The advocate may resign at any time by notifying the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly or, if there is no Speaker or the Speaker is absent from British Columbia, by notifying the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.
(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council must remove the advocate from office or suspend the advocate for cause or incapacity on the recommendation of at least 2/3 of the members present in the Legislative Assembly.
(3) If the Legislative Assembly is not sitting, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may suspend the advocate, with or without salary, for cause or incapacity.
13 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint an acting advocate if
(a) the office of advocate is vacant or becomes vacant when the Legislative Assembly is not sitting,
(b) the advocate is suspended when the Legislative Assembly is not sitting,
(c) the advocate is removed or suspended or the office of the advocate becomes vacant when the Legislative Assembly is sitting, but no recommendation is made by the Assembly under section 3 (1) before the end of the session, or
(d) the advocate is temporarily absent because of illness or another reason.
(2) An acting advocate holds office until whichever of the following is the case and whichever of the following occurs first:
(a) the advocate returns to office after a temporary absence;
(b) a person is appointed under section 3 (1);
(c) the suspension of the advocate ends;
(d) the Legislative Assembly has sat for 20 days after the date of the acting advocate's appointment.
14 (1) An advocate appointed under section 3 (1) or 13 (1) is entitled
(a) to be paid, out of the consolidated revenue fund, a salary equal to the maximum salary level paid under the Public Service Act to the most senior assistant deputy minister, and
(b) to be reimbursed for reasonable travelling and out of pocket expenses personally incurred in performing the duties of the office.
(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may order that the Pension (Public Service) Act applies to the advocate.
15 (1) The advocate may appoint, in accordance with the Public Service Act, employees necessary to enable the advocate to perform the duties of the office.
(2) For the purpose of the application of the Public Service Act to subsection (1) of this section, the advocate is deemed to be a deputy minister.
(3) The advocate may retain consultants or other persons and may establish their remuneration and other terms and conditions of their retainers.
(4) The Public Service Act does not apply in respect of a person retained under subsection (3) of this section.
(5) The advocate may make a special report to the Legislative Assembly if, in the advocate's opinion,
(a) the amounts and establishment provided for the office of advocate in the estimates are inadequate for fulfilling the duties of the office, or
(b) the services provided by the Public Service Employee Relations Commission are inadequate for fulfilling the duties of the office.
16 No proceeding may be brought against the advocate, or against a person acting for or under the direction of the advocate, for anything done, omitted, reported or said by the advocate or that person in good faith in the performance or exercise or purported performance or exercise of a duty, power or function under this Act or another enactment.
17 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as authorized by section 41 of the Interpretation Act.
18 Schedule 2 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, S.B.C. 1992, c. 61, is amended by adding "Office of the Child, Youth and Family Advocate" under the column headed "Public Body" and adding "Child, Youth and Family Advocate" in the opposite column.
19 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
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