1995 Legislative Session: 4th Session, 35th Parliament

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.

Certified correct as passed Third Reading on the 19th day of June, 1995
Ian D. Izard, Law Clerk


BILL 20 -- 1995

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:

1 Section 1 of the Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 158, is amended by adding the following definitions:

"board" means the Income Assistance Appeal Board established under section 25.2;

"panel" means a panel established under section 25.2 (6);

"tribunal" means an appeal tribunal, established by regulation, to hear appeals under section 25.

2 Section 2 (2) is repealed and the following substituted:

(2) Subject to the regulations, the minister may delegate to any person, including a person appointed under section 23 (1) or (2), any of the minister's powers and duties under this Act.

3 Section 4 is amended by renumbering the section as section 4 (1) and by adding the following subsections:

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may authorize the minister to enter into agreements with any other minister or a public body respecting income assistance or social service programs.

(3) In this section

"agreement" includes a data matching agreement to facilitate the exchange of information about individuals who apply for, receive or have received income assistance or social services;

"public body" means the same as in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

4 Section 6 (2) is repealed and the following substituted:

(2) Information obtained in the administration of this Act is absolutely privileged, and no person shall be required to give evidence in court in respect of it, except

(a) in a prosecution for contravention of this Act or the regulations,

(b) with the consent of the individual in respect of whom the information was obtained, or

(c) in proceedings under the Family and Child Service Act.

5 Section 8 is repealed.

6 The following section is added:

Repayment agreements and assignments

21.1 Subject to the regulations, the minister may enter into an agreement for the repayment of income assistance by, or may take an assignment from, an individual who is eligible for income assistance.

7 Section 25 is repealed and the following substituted:

Appeals to a tribunal

25 (1) If an individual is dissatisfied with a decision made under this Act or the regulations respecting the refusal, discontinuance or reduction of income assistance to that individual or to his or her dependants, the individual may appeal the decision to a tribunal to be established and conducted in accordance with the regulations.

(2) The tribunal, in arriving at its decision, must take into consideration all of the following:

(a) budgets specifically allocated for income assistance;

(b) the purpose and intent of this Act and the regulations;

(c) the procedures prescribed for the administration of income assistance.

(3) An appeal lies to the board under section 25.3 from a decision of the tribunal

(a) on a question of law, or

(b) on the grounds that the tribunal based its decision on an erroneous finding of fact that it made in a perverse or capricious manner or without regard to the material before it.

8 The following sections are added:

Appeal board established

25.2 (1) The Income Assistance Appeal Board is established.

(2) The board shall consist of not less than 3 and not more than 6 members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, each of whom has prescribed qualifications or meets prescribed criteria, and the Lieutenant Governor in Council must designate one member of the board as the chair.

(3) The chair and other members of the board must be appointed for a term not exceeding 2 years as fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and may be reappointed to further terms.

(4) The members of the board are entitled to be reimbursed for reasonable travelling and out of pocket expenses necessarily incurred by them in the discharge of their duties, and every member who is not a public service employee within the meaning of the Public Service Act may be paid remuneration fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council for their services.

(5) The board

(a) has jurisdiction to consider appeals from a decision of a tribunal under section 25,

(b) may, subject to the regulations, establish its own procedures for the expeditious consideration of appeals, and

(c) is not bound by the legal or technical rules of evidence or its own decisions.

(6) The chair may establish a panel, consisting of 3 members of the board, to consider an appeal under section 25.3 and, if a panel has been appointed,

(a) the chair, or a member of the board specified by the chair, must preside over the panel,

(b) the panel has all the jurisdiction and may exercise and perform the powers and duties of the board with respect to matters that come before it,

(c) 2 or more panels may proceed with separate matters at the same time, and

(d) a decision or order of the panel is a decision or order of the board.

(7) A quorum of the board is 3 members of the board.

(8) A quorum of a panel is the 3 members appointed to the panel and a decision of the panel must be decided by a majority of the votes of the members of the panel.

Appeals to the board

25.3 (1) A person, including the minister, affected by a decision of a tribunal under section 25 may appeal the tribunal's decision, in whole or in part, by way of a stated case, by delivering to the board, in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time, a written notice of appeal.

(2) If a written notice of appeal is not received by the board within the prescribed time for an appeal under subsection (1), the person is deemed to have accepted the decision of the tribunal and no proceedings to review or appeal that decision may be brought by that person to the board or a court.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), if a written notice of appeal is received by the board within the prescribed time for an appeal under subsection (1), the chair must establish a panel in accordance with section 25.2 (6).

(4) The board may summarily dismiss an appeal under subsection (1) if

(a) the appeal does not come within the matters set out in section 25 (3) (a) or (b), or

(b) the board considers that the appeal is frivolous or vexatious.

(5) On an appeal under this section, the panel must review the tribunal's decision and any records on which it was based.

(6) After conducting a review under subsection (5), the panel must, by order,

(a) confirm the decision of the tribunal, or

(b) reverse, in whole or in part, the decision of the tribunal.

(7) The chair must inform the parties to the appeal of any decision or order of the board or panel made under this section and send a copy of the decision or order to each party.

(8) A decision or order of the board or panel under this section is final and conclusive and is not open to appeal or review in a court except on a question of law or excess of jurisdiction.

Immunity for acts or omissions in good faith

25.4 No action for damages lies or may be brought against the board, a member of the board or a member of a panel because of anything done or omitted in good faith

(a) in the performance or purported performance of any duty or function under this Act, or

(b) in the exercise or purported exercise of any power under this Act.

9 Section 26 is amended

(a) in subsection (2) by striking out "and" at the end of paragraph (k) and by adding the following paragraph:

(k.1) respecting data matching, data matching agreements and the administration of those agreements; ,

(b) in subsection (2) by adding the following paragraphs:

(k.2) prescribing, for the purpose of section 21.1, the circumstances and conditions under which an agreement may be entered into or an assignment taken and the terms and conditions to be included in the agreement or assignment;

(k.3) specifying qualifications and criteria for the appointment of persons as members of a tribunal;

(k.4) respecting the reinstatement of benefits pending an appeal to a tribunal;

(k.5) respecting the status of decisions made by a tribunal pending an appeal to the board;

(k.6) respecting the confidentiality of information obtained from or disclosed about an individual; and , and

(c) by adding the following subsection:

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting appeals to the board, including regulations

(a) specifying qualifications and criteria for the appointment of members to the board,

(b) prescribing the manner of bringing appeals,

(c) establishing the time limits within which appeals must be brought and considered,

(d) prescribing the practice and procedures of the board or a panel, and

(e) providing for the disclosure to the board of information respecting an individual for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the board or a panel.

10 Section 26.1 is repealed.

11 Section 28 is repealed.

Consequential Amendment

Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No.2), 1990

12 Section 9 of the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 1990, S.B.C. 1990, c. 58, is repealed.


13 Sections 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 (b) and (c) and 10 come into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

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