REVISED STATUTES, 1989
amended 1994-95, c. 7, ss. 105-106, 150; 2000, c. 27, s. 22
1 This Act may be cited as the Social Assistance Act. R.S., c. 432, s. 1.
2 In this Act,
(a) "Minister" means the Minister of Community Services or, in the case of homes for the aged and licensed nursing homes, means the Minister of Health;
(b) "municipal unit" means a municipality to which the Municipal Act applies, a city or an incorporated town. R.S., c. 432, s. 2; 1994-95, c. 7, s. 105.
Administration of Act
3 The Minister has general supervision over the administration of this Act. R.S., c. 432, s. 3.
Interpretation of Parts I and II
4 In this Part and in Part II,
(a) "council" means the council of a municipal unit;
(b) "designated residence" means a residence designated pursuant to Section 8;
(c) "home" means a home for special care as defined in the Canada Assistance Plan and includes a home for the aged or the disabled, a licensed nursing home, a licensed boarding home and a social services institution designated by the Minister;
(d) "person in need" means a person who requires financial assistance to provide for the person in a home for special care or a community based option;
(e) "social services committee" means a social services committee of a municipal unit or, where no social services committee is appointed pursuant to subsection (3) of Section 5, a council meeting as a committee of the whole. R.S., c. 432, s. 4; 2000, c. 27, s. 22.
SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
Social services district
5 (1) Each municipal unit shall constitute a social services district and shall continue as such until altered under the provisions of this Act.
Social services committee of municipal unit
(2) The council of every municipal unit other than a city shall annually appoint a committee of not more than five members to be the social services committee of the municipal unit.
Social services committee of city
(3) The social services committee of a city shall be constituted and appointed in the manner prescribed by the Act incorporating the city or, if there is no provision for its appointment in that Act, in the manner prescribed in subsection (2) .
(4) Subject to the approval of the Minister, the councils of one or more municipal units may make and enter into an agreement to provide for the joint operation and administration of the social services committee of each municipal unit that enters into the agreement.
(5) If a person appointed to be a member of the social services committee of a municipal unit ceases to reside in the municipal unit for which the person was appointed or dies or is for any other reason unable to act, the council of the municipal unit may appoint a member to act in the person's stead. R.S., c. 432, s. 5.
6 (1) Each social services committee shall report to the council at its annual meeting, or at such other time as the council directs, the estimated amount required for the assistance of persons in need for the ensuing year.
Included in annual estimate and source of funds
(2) The amount required by a municipal unit for the assistance of persons in need, including amounts required for the erection and maintenance of homes and amounts paid by the unit for the care, maintenance, treatment and nursing of persons in hospitals and for services there provided for them, shall be included by the council of the unit in its estimates for the year and raised, levied and collected as part of the general rate of levy on the whole unit and shall not be raised by an area rate. R.S., c. 432, s. 6.
Administration of responsibility of committees
7 The social services committee with the approval of the council may appoint a person to administer and manage or may enter into an agreement with the Minister or an agency approved by the Minister for the administration and management of all matters that are the responsibility of the social services committee and may, with the approval of the council, appoint such additional persons as may be required for the effective carrying out of social services responsibilities in the municipal unit or in co-operation with other municipal units. R.S., c. 432, s. 7.
Continuation of agreement
7A Any agreement entered into between a municipal unit or a social services committee and the Minister pursuant to Section 7 continues in force in so far as it is required to be in force for the purpose of enabling the Minister to
(a) administer and manage all matters that are the responsibility of the social services committee or municipal unit under this Act and the regulations;
(b) establish policies and procedures required to provide financial assistance to persons in need under this Act and the regulations. 2000, c. 27, s. 22.
DESIGNATION OF RESIDENCE
8 (1) In this Section, "residence" of a person means a housing unit in the Province that was ordinarily inhabited by that person for at least two years, and includes land on which the housing unit is situate that may reasonably be regarded as contributing to the use and enjoyment of the housing unit as a residence or such land that the person establishes in accordance with the regulations is necessary to such use and enjoyment.
Successive housing units
(2) A housing unit is deemed to have been inhabited for at least two years where that housing unit was purchased solely with the proceeds from the sale of another housing unit and the two housing units were inhabited for a total period of at least two years.
(3) A person in need may, before or after any assistance is given to that person, designate that person's residence as a residence for the purpose of this Part.
Designation by spouse
(4) A person in need and that person's spouse may not designate different residences for the purpose of this Part.
(5) Where there is a dispute as to whether or not particular real property constitutes a residence for the purpose of this Part, an application may be made to the county court for resolution of the dispute and the county court shall determine the matter. R.S., c. 432, s. 8.
GRANT OF ASSISTANCE
Duty of committee to assist person in need
9 (1) Subject to this Act and the regulations the social services committee shall furnish assistance to all persons in need, as defined by the social services committee, who reside in the municipal unit.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), in making a determination pursuant thereto the social services committee shall not take into consideration the ownership of or an interest in a designated residence.
Sale of land
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), in making a determination pursuant thereto the social services committee shall not take into consideration the fact that land was sold for less than the maximum attainable amount where
(a) the land is sold for at least its assessed value as determined pursuant to the Assessment Act; and
(b) the land is land on which a housing unit that is a designated residence is situate and the land cannot reasonably be regarded as contributing to the use and enjoyment of the housing unit as a residence or cannot be established in accordance with the regulations as necessary to such use and enjoyment. R.S., c. 432, s. 9.
Statement respecting settlement
10 (1) Where a person makes application to a social services committee for assistance, the committee may require the person, as a condition of furnishing the assistance, to make a written statement under oath respecting the person's settlement and respecting matters relevant to the determination of the person's settlement.
Transmission of statement with demand for payment
(2) Where a municipal unit, pursuant to Section 11, seeks to recover from another municipal unit or the Minister any amount expended by it for the assistance of a person in need, it shall transmit the statement of the person made under subsection (1) with its demand for payment to the other unit or to the Minister. R.S., c. 432, s. 10.
Recovery by person not liable to support
11 (1) A person who is not liable for the support of a person in need, but has necessarily incurred expense for the assistance of the person in need, may recover the expense from the municipal unit in which the person in need has a residence or a settlement, if the person has, before incurring such expense, requested the social services committee to furnish such assistance and no provision has been made for the person in need.
Recovery by municipality
(2) A municipal unit in which a person in need does not have a settlement but which
(a) has necessarily incurred any expense for the assistance of the person in need; or
(b) has been required to pay on the account of the person in need an amount under subsection (1),
may recover the expenses or the amount paid from the municipal unit in which the person in need has a settlement or from the Minister if the person has no settlement in the Province.
Extent of liability of Minister or municipal unit
(3) A municipal unit or the Minister is not liable under this Section except to a municipal unit for the rent or for the use and occupation of any house or other building leased or occupied by any person in need. R.S., c. 432, s. 11.
RECOVERY FROM PERSONS ASSISTED
Recovery from person assisted
12 (1) Where assistance has been given by a social services committee to or for a person in need, the municipal unit may recover from the person or, in the case of the person's death, from the person's executor or administrator the expenses so incurred in an action brought by the clerk in the name of the municipal unit as a debt due the municipal unit, and the clerk may obtain as a creditor letters of administration of the estate of the person and may file a claim against the person's estate in a court of probate.
Limitation period respecting estate
(2) A claim against an executor or administrator or an application for administration under subsection (1) may not be made later than one year after the death of the person to whom assistance was given. R.S., c. 432, s. 12.
Recovery of assistance payments
12A The Minister, or a person designated by the Minister, has the same rights as a municipal unit to recover amounts paid for the assistance of a person in need from that person or from that person's executor or administrator where the assistance is paid with respect to the maintenance of a person in a home for the aged or a licensed nursing home. 1994-95, c. 7, s. 106.
Protection of designated residence
13 (1) Notwithstanding Section 12, where assistance is given or to be given to a person pursuant to this Part by a social services committee, the municipal unit shall not as a result thereof
(a) recover or attempt to recover the expenses thereof from that person or that person's estate by means of the conveyance, sale, mortgage or encumbrance in any way of; or
(b) force or coerce that person to convey, sell, mortgage or encumber in any way,
that person's designated residence.
Validity of security
(2) Where a municipal unit holds a mortgage or security on a designated residence contrary to subsection (1), the mortgage or security is of no effect.
(3) Where, before the twenty-fifth day of May, 1988, a municipal unit held a mortgage or security on a residence for the purpose of recovering assistance granted pursuant to this Part and the mortgage or security thereon had not been realized before the tenth day of March, 1988, the mortgage or security is of no effect. R.S., c. 432, s. 13.
CONTRIBUTIONS BY RELATIVES
Liability of relatives and direction to assist
14 (1) The husband, wife, father, mother, child and children, of every person who seeks assistance from or to whom assistance is given by a social services committee under this Part, are jointly and severally liable for the assistance of the person and shall assist and maintain the person to such extent and in such manner as the social services committee may direct.
Direction to relative to assist person in home
(2) In the case of a person in a home, the council of the municipal unit in which the person has a settlement may direct the extent to and the manner in which the persons named in subsection (1) shall assist and maintain the person.
Failure to comply with direction
(3) In the case of default by any person in complying with a direction made under subsection (1) or subsection (2), then the municipal unit in which the person in need has a settlement is entitled to recover from the person or persons in default such sum of money as the council may direct, not exceeding twenty-five dollars per week, in an action brought by the clerk in the name of the municipal unit. R.S., c. 432, s. 14.
Inquiry into means to assist
15 (1) If any person liable under Section 14 to maintain a person feels aggrieved by a direction made under Section 14, the person so liable may on affidavit obtain an order from the judge of the Family Court of the area in which the person in need has a settlement, fixing a date for the examination under oath of the person or persons liable, and upon that date the judge shall inquire into the means and ability of the person or persons to assist or maintain the person in need.
Power of judge upon inquiry
(2) The judge may, if the judge sees fit, summon and examine any of the persons mentioned in subsection (1) of Section 14 and may make such order as to the assistance and maintenance of the person in need as to the judge seems just in the circumstances.
Notice of inquiry
(3) Five days notice in writing of the day, hour and place of the inquiry by the judge shall be given to any person to be examined and to the clerk of the municipal unit.
(4) The judge may, in the judge's discretion, make such order as to the payment of the costs of and incidental to the examination and inquiry as to the judge seems just. R.S., c. 432, s. 15.
Reimbursement of municipal unit by Minister
16 (1) Subject to the regulations, the Minister may reimburse a municipal unit for part of the expenditures made by the unit in providing assistance under this Part, including expenditures made for the purpose of maintaining persons in a home and administrative expenses of the unit related to the provision of assistance.
Amount of reimbursement
(2) The amount or rate of reimbursement under subsection (1) shall be fixed by regulations and may be at different amounts or rates for expenditures made for different purposes and at different amounts or rates for different municipal units. R.S., c. 432, s. 16.
Reimbursement regarding homes
17 Notwithstanding Section 16, the Minister shall reimburse a municipal unit for not less than two thirds of the expenditures made by the municipal unit in providing assistance pursuant to this Part for the purpose of maintaining persons in a home, if the assistance is granted in accordance with the standards prescribed pursuant to this Part and the regulations. R.S., c. 432, s. 17.
18 The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing standards for assistance to be granted by social services committees to persons in need;
(b) prescribing the terms and conditions upon which municipal units will be reimbursed by the Province for assistance expenditures made by them, prescribing assistance expenditures in respect of which such reimbursement will be made and providing for the calculation of the amount of such reimbursement;
(c) prescribing standards of administrative organization and defining administrative expenses;
(d) respecting the keeping of books and records and the making of returns to the Minister by municipal units and social services committees and providing for the examination and audit of those books and records;
(e) respecting the returns to be made by municipal units in claiming reimbursement from the Province for assistance expenditures;
(f) respecting the designation of a residence pursuant to this Part;
(g) defining a word or expression used in this Part and not defined herein. R.S., c. 432, s. 18.
19 Any person who applies for or receives assistance pursuant to this Act on or after August 1, 2001, may appeal any decision related to the person's application or assistance received to an appeal board established pursuant to the Employment Support and Income Assistance Act and the provisions of that Act and any regulations made pursuant to that Act respecting appeals apply mutatis mutandis to appeals made pursuant to this Section. 2000, c. 27, s. 22.
20 to 24 repealed 2000, c. 27, s. 22.
REHABILITATION AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Activity centres and sheltered employment
25 Subject to the regulations, the Minister may, out of money appropriated by the Legislature, provide financial assistance for the establishment, maintenance and continuation of activity centres, sheltered workshops, work activity and sheltered employment. R.S., c. 432, s. 25.
26 The Minister may enter into agreements to carry out the purpose of this Part with such persons, organizations, agencies, societies or municipal units as are determined by the regulations. R.S., c. 432, s. 26.
27 The Governor in Council may make regulations with respect to this Part
(a) defining activity centre, sheltered workshop, work activity and sheltered employment;
(b) respecting the manner of applying for assistance and the information to be furnished by applicants and persons receiving assistance;
(c) providing for the time and manner of granting assistance;
(d) providing for the supervision, discontinuance, reduction, increase and resumption of assistance;
(e) prescribing the maximum amount of assistance that may be granted;
(f) prescribing methods by which the amount and form of assistance to be granted are to be calculated or determined;
(g) determining the persons, organizations, agencies, societies or municipal units eligible for assistance and with which the Minister may enter into agreement;
(h) generally for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Part. R.S., c. 432, s. 27.
Restriction on availability of list of assisted persons
28 No list of persons who are receiving or have received assistance under this Act shall be made available to any person who does not require this information to perform the person's lawful duty. R.S., c. 432, s. 28.