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C.C.S.M. c. S167
The Social Services Appeal Board Act
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(Assented to July 6, 2001)
HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
DEFINITIONS AND PURPOSE
In this Act,
"appeal board" means the Social Services Appeal Board referred to in section 3; (« Commission d'appel »)
"designated Act" means
(a) The Adoption Act,
(a.1) The Child and Family Services Act;
(b) The Community Child Care Standards Act,
(c) The Manitoba Assistance Act,
(d) The Social Services Administration Act or a regulation under that Act,
(e) The Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act,
(f) any other Act or regulation designated as a designated Act in the regulations; (« loi désignée »)
"designated officer" means a person who has authority under a designated Act to make a decision or order for which there is a right of appeal under the designated Act to the appeal board, or the person to whom that authority is delegated; (« fonctionnaire désigné »)
"minister" means the minister appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to administer this Act; (« ministre »)
"panel" means a panel of the appeal board. (« comité »)
The purpose of this Act is to give Manitobans a fair, impartial and informal appeal process from decisions relating to various social services and programs.
The Social Services Advisory Committee, which was established under The Social Services Administration Act, is continued under this Act as the Social Services Appeal Board.
The appeal board is to consist of 15 members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The members of the appeal board must, in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council,
(a) be representative of the regional, economic and cultural diversity of Manitoba;
(b) be knowledgeable about social services and programs under designated Acts; and
(c) not be employees under the control of a minister responsible for a designated Act.
Each member is to be appointed for a term of up to two years and, subject to subsection (4), may be re-appointed.
A member who has served for six years in consecutive terms may be re-appointed for a further term, but only if at least one year has passed since the end of his or her last term.
A member continues to hold office until he or she is reappointed, a successor is appointed or the appointment is revoked.
The members of the appeal board are to be paid remuneration and expenses at rates set by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council must designate one of the members of the appeal board as chair and one or more members as vice-chairs.
A vice-chair has the authority of the chair if the chair is absent or unable to act, or when authorized by the chair.
Any employees required to enable the appeal board to carry out its responsibilities may be appointed in accordance with The Civil Service Act.
The appeal board has these responsibilities:
(a) to hear and decide appeals under designated Acts;
(b) at the minister's request, to advise and make recommendations about matters that relate to social services and programs in Manitoba;
(c) on its own initiative, to advise and make recommendations to the minister about social services provided under the designated Acts;
(d) to perform any other duties assigned to it by an Act or regulation or by the minister.
The appeal board may establish its own rules of practice and procedure and must make them available to the public.
A designated officer must post information about the right to appeal to the appeal board, and about the appeal process, in a visible public location in any office in which decisions are made that can be appealed under a designated Act.
PANELS OF THE APPEAL BOARD
The appeal board must sit in panels of three members when hearing appeals.
The chair is to assign members to sit on panels.
The chair or a vice-chair is to preside over a panel, or the chair may designate another member of the appeal board to preside.
A member of the appeal board is not eligible to sit on a panel if he or she
(a) is a relative of a party; or
(b) is not able to be impartial and independent about the outcome of the appeal.
A quorum for a panel is the three members referred to in subsection (1).
In considering and deciding an appeal,
(a) a panel has all the jurisdiction of the appeal board and may exercise the board's powers and perform its duties; and
(b) a decision of a majority of the members of a panel is the decision of the appeal board.
APPEAL TO THE APPEAL BOARD
A person who has a right to appeal a decision or order to the appeal board under a designated Act may commence an appeal by filing a notice of appeal with the board.
A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the date of the decision or order, unless the designated Act specifies a different time limit.
The appeal board may extend the time limit for commencing an appeal, and may do so either before or after the time limit expires.
A notice of appeal must be in writing and must state the reasons for the appeal.
The parties to an appeal are the person who has a right to appeal to the appeal board and the designated officer under the designated Act.
The appellant and the designated officer or a delegate of the designated officer must be present at the hearing or, if subsection 19(2) applies, must be able to communicate with each other and the appeal board simultaneously.
At the appellant's request, another person may communicate with the appeal board at any time on the appellant's behalf and may be present with the appellant at the hearing.
On receiving a notice of appeal, the appeal board must promptly give a copy of it to the designated officer.
On receiving the notice of appeal, the designated officer must promptly give the appeal board
(a) all of the documentary evidence on which the designated officer made the decision or order being appealed;
(b) any documents that the designated officer is specifically required to provide to the board under the designated Act; and
(c) any other documents the designated officer thinks might be relevant to the appeal.
For each appeal, the appeal board must arrange the earliest possible hearing date. The hearing must not be commenced more than 30 days after the board receives the notice of appeal, unless the board at the request of the appellant, grants an extension.
Unless the parties agree to a shorter period of notice, at least six days before the hearing the appeal board must give the parties written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.
The appeal board must give each party a reasonable opportunity to examine and copy any information that has been submitted to the board for the purpose of the hearing.
The appeal board must inform itself fully of the facts concerning each appeal. For that purpose, the board
(a) may require the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents in addition to the witnesses called by the parties and the documents produced by the parties; and
(b) has the powers of a commissioner under Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act.
The appeal board is not bound by the rules of evidence that apply to judicial proceedings.
A hearing may be held by means of a conference telephone call, or by another method of communication that permits the appeal board and the parties to communicate with each other simultaneously.
The hearing is to be closed to the public if the appellant asks for it to be closed; otherwise it is to be open to the public.
The appeal board may adjourn a hearing when it considers it appropriate to do so.
ORDER OF THE APPEAL BOARD
Unless the designated Act states otherwise, after a hearing the appeal board may, by written order,
(a) confirm, vary or rescind the order or decision of the designated officer;
(b) make any order or decision that the designated officer could have made; or
(c) refer the matter back to the designated officer for further consideration by the designated officer in accordance with any direction of the appeal board.
The appeal board must give written reasons for its order.
The appeal board must make its order within 15 days after the hearing ends.
The appeal board must give the parties a copy of the order and inform them of their right to appeal a question of law or jurisdiction to The Court of Appeal.
The order must be given to the parties personally or by regular lettermail or by another method acceptable to the appeal board and the parties.
A designated officer must give effect to the order of the appeal board.
At the request of a party to the appeal or on its own initiative, the appeal board may reconsider all or part of its order and may confirm, vary, suspend or rescind its order.
A written request for a reconsideration, stating the reasons for the request, must be filed with the appeal board within 30 days after the date of the board's order.
The appeal board must, by order, make a decision as to whether an order will be reconsidered, within 15 days after the date the request for a reconsideration is filed.
The board must give written reasons if it decides not to reconsider an order.
APPEAL TO COURT OF APPEAL
Any party to the appeal before the appeal board may appeal the board's order to The Court of Appeal on any question involving the board's jurisdiction or on a point of law, but only after obtaining leave to appeal from a judge of The Court of Appeal.
An application for leave to appeal must be made within 30 days after the date of the appeal board's order, or within any further time that a judge allows.
The parties to the appeal before the appeal board, and the appeal board, are entitled to be heard on the application for leave to appeal and on the appeal itself.
The Court of Appeal may
(a) quash, vary or confirm the order of the appeal board; or
(b) refer the matter back to the appeal board for further consideration in accordance with any direction of the Court.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) designating Acts or regulations for the purpose of the definition "designated Act" in section 1;
(b) respecting any other matter the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the intent of this Act.
Within six months after the end of the government's fiscal year, the appeal board must provide the minister with a report about the board's activities during that fiscal year. The minister shall lay a copy of the report before the Legislative Assembly within 15 days after receiving it if the Assembly is sitting or, if it is not, within 15 days after the next sitting begins.
PROTECTION FROM LEGAL ACTION
No action or proceeding for damages may be brought against the appeal board or any member of the board because of anything done or omitted in good faith
(a) in the performance or intended performance of a duty under this Act; or
(b) in the exercise or intended exercise of a power under this Act.
In this section,
"former Act" means The Social Services Administration Act, R.S.M. 1987, c. S165; (« ancienne loi »)
"former designated Act" means a designated Act as it read immediately before the coming into force of this Act. (« ancienne loi désignée »)
Where on the day this Act comes into force an appeal under a former designated Act to the Social Services Advisory Committee under the former Act has been commenced but not finally disposed of, the appeal shall be continued and completed in accordance with that former designated Act as if this Act had not come into force.
NOTE: These sections contained consequential amendments to other Acts that are now included in those Acts.
C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE
This Act may be cited as The Social Services Appeal Board Act and referred to as chapter S167 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.
This Act, except section 33, comes into force on a day fixed by proclamation.
Section 33 comes into force on the day The Social Services Administration Amendment Act, S.M. 2000, c. 31, comes into force.
NOTE: S.M. 2001, c. 9, except section 33, came into force by proclamation on February 18, 2002.
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