1996 Legislative Session: 1st Session, 36th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
HONOURABLE SUE HAMMELL
MINISTER OF WOMEN'S EQUALITY
|2||Purpose of this Act|
|3||Provincial Child Care Council|
|4||Child care subsidies and grants|
|5||Information and verification|
|6||Reconsiderations and appeals|
|7||Overpayments, repayments and assignments|
|8||No garnishment, attachment, execution or seizure|
|10||Offence of supplying false or misleading information|
|11||Other provisions relating to offences|
|12||Delegation of minister's powers and duties|
|13||Power to make regulations|
HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 In this Act:
"child care" means the care and supervision of a child in a child care setting, other than
(a) by the child's parent, or
(b) while the child is attending an educational program provided under the School Act or the Independent School Act;
"child care grant" means a payment made to
(a) facilitate the operation of a child care setting,
(b) improve the quality of child care,
(c) improve access to affordable child care, or
(d) develop or operate a program that in any other way promotes the purpose of this Act;
"child care setting" means any setting in which child care is provided, including
(a) a facility licensed under the Community Care Facility Act to provide child care, and
(b) the child's own home;
"child care subsidy" means a payment made under this Act to or for a parent to subsidize the costs of child care;
"parent" includes a person with whom a child resides and who stands in place of the child's father or mother.
2 The purpose of this Act is to implement a child care system that will
(a) promote the health, safety and well-being of children receiving child care,
(b) promote quality child care,
(c) improve access to child care, including child care for children with special needs, and
(d) provide financial help to families with limited incomes who need child care.
3 (1) The Provincial Child Care Council may make recommendations to the minister about child care.
(2) The council consists of at least 14 and not more than 21 members, each of whom is appointed by the minister and one or more of whom is designated by the minister to chair council meetings.
(3) The minister may set the term of office of any member of the council.
(4) The minister may
(a) reimburse the members for reasonable travelling and out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred by them in attending council meetings, and
(b) pay the members, for each day spent on the council's business, a fee set by the minister in accordance with the general directives of Treasury Board.
4 The minister may,
(a) subject to the regulations, pay child care subsidies, and
(b) in the minister's sole discretion, pay child care grants.
5 (1) For the purpose of determining or auditing eligibility for child care subsidies, the minister may do one or more of the following:
(a) direct a person who has applied for a child care subsidy, or to or for whom a child care subsidy is paid, to supply the minister with information within the time and in the manner specified by the minister;
(b) seek verification of any information supplied by a person referred to in paragraph (a);
(c) direct a person referred to in paragraph (a) to supply verification of any information supplied by that person.
(2) A person to or for whom a child care subsidy is paid must notify the minister, within the time and in the manner specified by regulation, of any change in circumstances affecting their eligibility under this Act.
(3) If a person fails to comply with a direction under subsection (1) (a) or (c) or with subsection (2), the minister may
(a) declare the person ineligible for a child care subsidy until the person complies, or
(b) reduce the person's child care subsidy.
(4) For the purpose of auditing child care subsidies, the minister may direct child care providers to supply the minister with information about any child care they provide that is subsidized under this Act.
6 (1) A person may request the minister to reconsider a decision made under this Act or the regulations about
(a) the refusal to pay a child care subsidy to or for the person, or
(b) the discontinuance or reduction of the person's child care subsidy.
(2) The request must be made, and the decision reconsidered, within the time limits and in accordance with any rules specified by regulation.
(3) If dissatisfied with the outcome, the person who made the request may appeal from the decision that was the outcome of the request to a tribunal appointed under the BC Benefits (Appeals) Act.
(4) The right of appeal given by subsection (3) is subject to the time limits and other requirements set out in the BC Benefits (Appeals) Act and the regulations under that Act.
7 (1) If a child care subsidy is paid to or for a person who is not entitled to it, that person is liable to repay to the government the amount to which the person was not entitled.
(2) Subject to the regulations, the minister may enter into an agreement, or may accept any right assigned, for the repayment of a child care subsidy.
(3) A repayment agreement may be entered into before or after a child care subsidy is paid.
(4) An amount that a person is liable to repay under subsection (1) or under an agreement entered into under subsection (2) is a debt due to the government and may
(a) be recovered by it in a court of competent jurisdiction, or
(b) be deducted by it from any subsequent child care subsidy or from an amount payable to that person by the government under a prescribed enactment.
(5) The minister's decision about the amount a person is liable to repay under subsection (1) or under an agreement entered into under subsection (2) is not open to appeal under section 6 (3).
8 (1) Child care subsidies are exempt from garnishment, attachment, execution or seizure under any Act.
(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent a child care subsidy being retained by way of a deduction or set-off under this Act, the Financial Administration Act or a prescribed Act.
9 (1) Subject to subsection (2), the minister may enter into an agreement with any person or group of persons.
(2) With the prior approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the minister may enter into any of the following:
(a) an agreement with the government of Canada, or an agency of that government, about financial arrangements or other matters relating to child care;
(b) a reciprocal agreement with the government of another province of Canada, or an agency of that government, respecting child care programs;
(c) an information-sharing agreement with
(i) the government of Canada or an agency of that government,
(ii) the government of a province or other jurisdiction in Canada or an agency of that government,
(iii) the government of a state of the United States, or an agency of that government,
(iv) a public body as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or
(v) a legal entity representing an aboriginal community.
(3) In this section, "information-sharing agreement" includes a data-matching or other agreement to exchange personal or other information necessary for the administration or enforcement of
(a) this Act,
(b) a prescribed enactment of British Columbia, or
(c) a prescribed enactment of Canada, a province or other jurisdiction in Canada.
10 (1) A person commits an offence who supplies, in an application under this Act or when required or directed under section 5 (1), (2) or (4) or the regulations, information that is false or misleading with respect to a material fact.
(2) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (1) if, at the time the information was supplied, the person did not know that it was false or misleading and, with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that it was false or misleading.
(3) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $2 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months or to both.
(4) In addition, the court may order a person convicted of an offence under this section to pay the government all or part of any amount that person received under this Act as a result of committing the offence.
11 (1) Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.
(2) The time limit for laying an information for an offence under this Act is 12 months after the facts on which the information is based first came to the minister's attention.
(3) A document purporting to have been issued by the minister, certifying the date on which the minister became aware of the facts on which the information is based,
(a) is admissible without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the certificate, and
(b) is proof of the certified facts unless there is evidence to the contrary.
12 (1) Subject to the regulations, the minister may delegate to any person or class of persons any or all of the minister's powers, duties and functions under this Act or the regulations, except
(a) the power to enter into an agreement under section 9 (2), and
(b) the power to prescribe forms.
(2) A delegation of the powers, duties or functions of the minister must be in writing and may include any limits or conditions the minister considers advisable.
13 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:
(a) respecting applications for child care subsidies and the information, authorizations and verifications that must be supplied in support of an application;
(b) governing eligibility for child care subsidies, including the types of child care for which, and the age limits of the children for whom, child care subsidies may be paid;
(c) prescribing rules for determining the income of parents who apply for or receive child care subsidies;
(d) prescribing how the amount, or the maximum amount, of a child care subsidy is to be determined;
(e) regulating when and how child care subsidies are paid;
(f) respecting the duties of parents to or for whom child care subsidies are paid, including their duty to notify the minister of any change in circumstances affecting their eligibility;
(g) specifying additional circumstances in which the minister may declare a parent ineligible for a child care subsidy or may reduce a child care subsidy;
(h) respecting the provision, in child care settings, of services to children with special needs;
(i) prescribing, for the purposes of section 7, the circumstances in which repayment agreements may be entered into or assignments accepted, and the terms to be included in those agreements or assignments;
(j) respecting the duty to notify the minister under section 5 (2);
(k) specifying time limits and other rules for the purposes of section 6 (2);
(l) respecting reinstatement of child care subsidies pending reconsiderations and appeals;
(m) prescribing enactments for the purposes of sections 7 (4) (b), 8 (2), and 9 (3);
(n) respecting terms and conditions that are to be included in information-sharing agreements under section 9 (2);
(o) prescribing how accounts are to be submitted to the minister for child care subsidized under this Act and the information to be supplied with those accounts;
(p) prescribing the records to be kept and the reports to be made to the minister by child care providers subsidized under this Act;
(q) governing investigations and audits to determine eligibility for child care subsidies or to ensure compliance with this Act and the regulations;
(r) establishing a register of child care settings that are not licensed under the Community Care Facility Act;
(s) respecting the delegation of the powers, duties and functions of the minister;
(t) defining any word or expression used in this Act or the regulations.
(3) In making regulations under this Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may do one or more of the following:
(a) delegate a matter to a person;
(b) confer a discretion on a person;
(c) make different regulations for different categories of child care providers or other persons, or for different types of child care or child care settings.
14 The minister may do either or both of the following:
(a) prescribe forms for use under this Act;
(b) specify forms for use under this Act.
15 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations considered necessary or advisable to more effectively bring this Act into operation and to facilitate the transition from the operation of the Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act to the operation of this Act.
16 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
This Bill lays the foundation for a child care system that will promote the health, safety and well-being of children receiving child care, promote quality child care, improve access to child care, including child care for children with special needs, and provide financial help to families with limited incomes who need child care.
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Copyright © 1996: Queen's Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada