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Agent Orange ex Gratia Payment

About the Agent Orange ex Gratia Payment

The Government of Canada, through the Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced on September 12, 2007, a one-time, tax-free ex gratia payment of $20,000 related to the testing of unregistered U.S. military herbicides, including Agent Orange, at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown in New Brunswick during the summers of 1966 and 1967. Through an Order in Council, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has been assigned the authority to administer the ex gratia payments. Initiated in September 2007, eligible individuals will have until April 1, 2009 to submit a claim for an ex gratia payment.

To qualify for the ex gratia payment, individuals must have an illness associated with exposure to contaminants in Agent Orange, as determined by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM), and must have worked at, trained at, been posted to, or lived within five kilometres of CFB Gagetown, when Agent Orange was tested in 1966 and 1967.

About the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

The scope of this Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is limited to the particulars of the Agent Orange ex gratia payment, through the Order in Council. It focuses on the collection, use and disclosure of clients and care givers personal information. To apply for the ex gratia payment, individuals are required to submit personal information, which may include personal identification data, medical information and proof of residency documentation.

The PIA review, conducted by Information Management Services Division (IMSD), identified two (2) risks regarding privacy requirements. One (1) specific risk was associated with the administration of the ex gratia payment, while the other was identified as a pre-existing risk which falls outside the immediate scope of this initiative. IMSD has identified and deemed the two privacy issues to be low risk. The following mitigation measures have been brought forward to resolve these low risk concerns:

Collection of Non Personal Information

  • As per the Order in Council, the Government of Canada requires valid proof of residency as an eligibility criterion for the ex gratia payment. A variety of documentation is anticipated to be submitted to substantiate this residency requirement, and with this submission, it is possible that documentation will include both required residential information and other non-essential personal information. Such records include, Church records, vehicle registration, water or utility records, land registry records, Census data and income tax returns. Therefore, for the purpose of obtaining a valid proof of residency, the collection of non-essential personal information is inevitable. Every effort will be made to mitigate this risk by protecting the case files from unauthorized access and ensuring original documentation is returned to clients and non essential information is removed from the copies.
  • The case files will be maintained in a secure area and will not be accessible by employees who do not have a "need-to-know."
  • It is anticipated that the hard copy file will be managed in accordance with the Case File Multi-Institutional Disposition Authority (MIDA) No. 2005/006.

Retention and Disposition of Personal Information

  • The lack of capacity to fully manage electronic client records has been identified as the second low risk. Although this previously identified risk at VAC falls outside the immediate scope of the Agent Orange ex gratia payment, it currently remains unresolved.
  • Veterans Affairs uses a work flow application that manages the Department's electronic records. This system does not have the functionality to perform retention and disposition. Research is currently underway to identify a solution aimed at updating VAC's electronic records systems to include the functionality to perform retention and disposition. Once a solution is identified and resource estimates are developed, a proposal will be presented to senior management.

Mitigation strategies for the privacy related issues are appropriate and in accordance with program management procedures.

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