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Assistance Appeal Regulations

made under Section 21 of the
Employment Support and Income Assistance Act
S.N.S. 2000, c. 27
O.I.C. 2001-337 (July 13, 2001, effective August 1, 2001), N.S. Reg. 90/2001
as amended by O.I.C. 2005-25 (January 27, 2005, effective December 15, 2004), N.S. Reg. 7/2005

Citation
1 These regulations may be cited as the Assistance Appeal Regulations.

Definitions
2 (1) In these regulations

(a) "Act" means the Employment Support and Income Assistance Act;

(b) "appeal board" means an appeal board established by the Minister pursuant to Section 11 of the Act;

(c) "appellant" means a person who appeals under the Act;

(d) "Department" means the Department of Community Services;

(e) "relative" means a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or spouse, and includes the spouse of a parent, grandparent, child or grandchild;

(f) "sitting" means 3 consecutive hours or part thereof regardless of the number of appeals heard during that time.
Section 2 renumbered 2(1): O.I.C. 2005-25, N.S. Reg. 7/2005.

(2) For the purposes of Section 12 of the Act and these regulations, "day" does not include Saturday or a holiday.
Subsection 2(2) added: O.I.C. 2005-25, N.S. Reg. 7/2005.

Minister to inform of the right to appeal
3 The Minister shall inform or provide a method for informing persons who apply for or who are receiving assistance of the right to appeal under the Act.

Appeal Boards
4 (1) Members of an appeal board shall be appointed by the Minister.

(2) The Minister shall designate one member of an appeal board to be the Chairperson of the board and all other members to be Vice-chairpersons.

(3) The quorum of an appeal board is one member.

(4) A member of an appeal board shall possess and demonstrate the following qualifications:

(a) experience in human or social services;

(b) an ability to conduct meetings;

(c) communication and writing skills;

(d) an ability to apply and interpret enactments; and

(e) an ability to think analytically.

(5) A member of an appeal board shall not be

(a) a person employed by the Department or the Department of Health and Wellness either at the time of appointment or within 2 years immediately preceding the appointment;

(b) a member of the House of Assembly either at the time of appointment or within the 2 years immediately preceding the appointment; or

(c) a person who is a relative of the appellant.

(6) A member of an appeal board shall attend such training as the Minister considers necessary.

(7) Every appeal board member shall upon appointment swear an oath or make affirmation before a Judge of the Supreme Court, a Justice of the Peace or a Family Court Judge in the following form:

"I swear or affirm that I will faithfully carry out my duties as an assistance appeal board member to the best of my ability and that I will consider all matters entrusted to me in the course of my duties to be matters of utmost confidence and I swear or affirm that I will carry out my duties fairly and equitably in accordance with the Act and the regulations made under it."

Remuneration
5 (1) A member of an appeal board shall be paid a fee of $100.00 per sitting.

(2) The expenses of a member of an appeal board shall be reimbursed in the same amount, the same manner and subject to the same limitations as expenses of an employee of the Department.

(3) A member of an appeal board shall apply for payment for sitting fees and expenses on a monthly basis.

Filing an Appeal
6 (1) An appeal filed with the Minister pursuant to Section 12 of the Act must

(a) be in writing;

(b) be signed by the appellant or a person acting on behalf of the appellant;

(c) request an appeal;

(d) specify the decision appealed from; and

(e) specify the reason for the appeal.

(2) An appellant who is advising the Minister pursuant to subsection 12(5) of the Act that they are continuing an appeal must do so in writing.

(3) Documents referred to in subsections (1) and (2) may be submitted to any office maintained by the Department.

7 Where an appellant has submitted a written notice as required by subsection 6(2), the Minister shall provide the appellant with

(a) a written statement specifying the reasons why the Minister upheld or changed the decision complained of;

(b) reference to the relevant Sections of the Act and Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations being relied upon to support the Minister's decision; and

(c) copies of any documents that the Minister intends to submit at the appeal hearing.

When appeal heard
8 The Minister shall advise or provide a method for advising an appellant of the appeal hearing date.

9 (1) An appeal board shall hear and render a decision in respect of an appeal that is continued pursuant to subsection 12(5) of the Act within 45 days of the date that the Minister received the appellant's written notice required by subsection 6(2).

(2) Despite subsection (1), an appeal hearing may be postponed or adjourned for a period of not more than 30 days with the consent of both parties or where the appeal board considers the postponement or adjournment necessary in the interests of natural justice.

10 If unable to attend on the date set for the hearing, an appellant may request an alternate date from the Minister for the hearing of the matter, and where such a request is granted, the Chairperson or the Vice-Chairperson of the appeal board, as the case may be, shall set a new hearing date.

Appearance and representation
11 (1) An appellant may

(a) appear personally at the appeal hearing, with or without the assistance of a representative; or

(b) send a representative to the appeal hearing, who shall provide the Chairperson or Vice- chairperson with written proof that the appellant authorizes them to represent the appellant at the hearing.

(2) Where an appellant does not attend the appeal hearing in person and does not have a representative attend on his or her behalf, the appeal will be heard in the absence of the appellant.

(3) Any employee of the Department or the Department [of] Health and Wellness who appears at an appeal hearing to support the decision appealed from is deemed to be representing the Minister of their respective department.

Appeal hearing process
12 (1) The parties to an appeal shall be heard in the order determined by the appeal board.

(2) Each party to an appeal shall be given an opportunity to present their case at the appeal hearing, including an opportunity to

(a) present evidence relevant to the appeal;

(b) cross-examine witnesses;

(c) rebut any evidence or argument presented by the other party; and

(d) argue or summarize the case.

(3) A member of an appeal board may ask questions during the appeal hearing that they consider necessary to ensure that the full facts and the case of each party are before the board.

Appeal board decisions
13 (1) A decision of an appeal board

(a) shall be made on the basis of the evidence presented at the appeal hearing; and

(b) must comply with the Act and the Employment Support and Income Assistance Regulations and these regulations.

(2) A decision of an appeal board shall be rendered as soon as possible, and no later than 7 days, after the hearing of the appeal.

(3) A decision of an appeal board shall

(a) be in writing;

(b) be signed by the members who heard the appeal; and

(c) indicate whether the appeal is granted or denied.

Effect of appeal decisions
14 (1) A decision of an appeal board binds both the appellant and the Minister.

(2) An appeal board decision is retroactive to the date of the decision that is being appealed.

(3) Despite subsection (3)[(2)], where an appellant has been receiving assistance during the appeal process and a decision of an appeal board reduces the amount of assistance payable to the appellant, the decision is effective on the first day of the first month after the date of the decision.

Overpayments
15 (1) Where an appeal is in respect of a decision involving an overpayment, the appeal board shall determine whether there has been an overpayment and the amount of the overpayment.

(2) Where an appeal board determines pursuant to subsection (1) that an overpayment has been made, the appeal board shall not order that the overpayment be forgiven or waived.

[Note: references to the Department of Health have been updated to "Health and Wellness" in accordance with Order in Council 2011-15 under the Public Service Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 376, effective January 11, 2011.]