1996 Legislative Session: 1st Session, 36th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
HONOURABLE DENNIS STREIFEL
MINISTER OF SOCIAL SERVICES
|2||Appeals to a tribunal|
|3||BC Benefits Appeal Board|
|4||Panels of the board|
|5||Appeals to the board|
|6||Protection from legal action|
|7||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:
"board" means the BC Benefits Appeal Board;
"business day" means a day other than Saturday, Sunday or another holiday listed in the definition of "holiday" in the Interpretation Act;
"designated Act" means
(a) the BC Benefits (Child Care) Act,
(b) the BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act,
(c) the BC Benefits (Youth Works) Act, or
(d) the Disability Benefits Program Act;
"panel" means a panel of the board;
"tribunal" means an appeal tribunal appointed in accordance with the regulations.
2 (1) If a person has a right of appeal to a tribunal from a decision made by a minister under a designated Act, the time limit for commencing the appeal is 7 business days after the person was notified of the decision.
(2) The appeal must be commenced and conducted in accordance with the regulations.
(3) If a person does not commence an appeal within the time limit in subsection (1),
(a) the person is deemed to have accepted the minister's decision, and
(b) the minister's decision is not open to review in a court or to appeal to a tribunal or other body.
3 (1) The Income Assistance Appeal Board established under the Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act is renamed the BC Benefits Appeal Board, and is continued under this Act.
(2) The board consists of a prescribed number of members, not fewer than 3, each of whom
(a) is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and
(b) has prescribed qualifications or meets prescribed criteria.
(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council must designate one member as chair of the board and may designate another member as vice-chair.
(4) The chair, vice-chair and other members of the board hold office for a term, not exceeding 2 years, set by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and they may be reappointed for further terms.
(5) The members of the board are entitled to be paid, in accordance with the general directives of Treasury Board, reasonable travelling and out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred by them in performing their duties.
(6) The members of the board, other than those who are public service employees within the meaning of the Public Service Act, may be paid for their services the remuneration set by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
(7) The board
(a) has jurisdiction to consider appeals under section 5,
(b) may, subject to the regulations, establish its own practices and procedures for expeditiously considering appeals, and
(c) is not bound by the legal or technical rules of evidence or its own decisions.
(8) When authorized by the chair or by the regulations to act as chair, the vice-chair has the power and authority of the chair.
4 (1) The chair may establish panels, each consisting of one or more members of the board as determined by the chair, to consider appeals.
(2) If a panel has more than one member, the chair must preside over the panel or designate the member who is to chair the panel.
(3) For appeals referred to a panel under section 5 (5),
(a) the panel has all the jurisdiction and may exercise the powers and perform the duties of the board, and
(b) a decision or order of the panel is a decision or order of the board.
5 (1) A person, including a minister, affected by a decision of a tribunal under section 2 may appeal to the board on a question of law from all or part of that decision.
(2) The time limit for commencing an appeal under subsection (1) is 30 business days, beginning on the day after the appellant was notified of the tribunal's decision.
(3) The appeal must
(a) be commenced and conducted in accordance with the regulations, and
(b) take the form of a stated case.
(4) If a person affected by a tribunal's decision does not commence an appeal within the time limit in subsection (2),
(a) the person is deemed to have accepted that decision, and
(b) that decision is not open to review in a court or to appeal to the board or any other body.
(5) If an appeal is commenced within the time limit in subsection (2), the chair must refer the appeal to a panel.
(6) On being notified by the parties that they have resolved the issue under appeal, the board or a panel must discontinue the appeal.
(7) After considering the appeal, the panel must, by order,
(a) confirm the tribunal's decision,
(b) reverse all or part of the tribunal's decision, or
(c) dismiss the appeal if it considers that the appeal is not on a question of law or is frivolous or vexatious.
(8) An order of the board or a panel under this section is final and conclusive, and is not open
(a) to review in a court except on a question of law or excess of jurisdiction, or
(b) to appeal to any body.
6 No action for damages may be brought against a tribunal or the board, or a member of a tribunal or the board because of anything done or omitted in good faith
(a) in the performance or intended performance of a duty or function under this Act, or
(b) in the exercise or intended exercise of a power under this Act.
7 (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) governing how the members of a tribunal are to be appointed and prescribing qualifications and criteria for their appointment;
(b) respecting the establishment of a list of pre-qualified persons to act as chair of a tribunal in different geographic areas of British Columbia;
(c) prescribing the remuneration of the chair and other members of a tribunal for each appeal hearing;
(d) prescribing the number of members that constitute the board and prescribing qualifications and criteria for their appointment;
(e) respecting the designation of a registrar and any other officer of the board;
(f) respecting the functions of the chair, vice-chair and other officers of the board;
(g) governing how an appeal to a tribunal or the board is to be commenced and conducted;
(h) respecting the consequences of non-compliance with the rules governing appeals;
(i) respecting the status of decisions of a tribunal pending appeals to the board from those decisions;
(j) respecting the consolidation of 2 or more appeals to be heard at a single appeal hearing of a tribunal or the board;
(k) prescribing the practices and procedures of tribunals, the board or a panel;
(l) defining a quorum of the board or a panel;
(m) respecting service of documents;
(n) requiring the board to report particulars of its operations and specifying how and when reports must be made;
(o) respecting the confidentiality of decisions made by a tribunal or the board;
(p) defining any word or expression used in this Act.
8 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations considered necessary or advisable
(a) to more effectively bring this Act into operation, and
(b) to facilitate the continuation and disposition under this Act of appeals commenced under the Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act and not disposed of before the repeal of sections 25 to 25.3 of that Act.
9 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The purpose of this Bill is to create one appeal system for hearing and deciding appeals from decisions made under the BC Benefits (Child Care) Act, the BC Benefits (Income Assistance) Act, the BC Benefits (Youth Works) Act and the Disability Benefits Program Act.
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