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Terms of reference – Care and support advisory group

1. MANDATE AND SCOPE

  1. 1.1 The mandate of the Care & Support Advisory Group (CASAG) is to provide advice to the Minister of Veterans Affairs to help ensure that appropriate care and support are offered to Canada’s Veterans.

    Given the population served by Veterans Affairs Canada includes elderly World War II and Korean War Veterans, younger as well as older modern-day Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Veterans, the work carried out by the Care and Support Advisory Group will extend across this broad demographic and service profile of Canada’s Veterans.

    More specifically, the CASAG will provide the Minister with:

    • recommendations to address aging-related issues, special health needs, and continuity of care for all Veterans of all ages
    • recommendations to address gaps in the nature and scope of departmental programs, benefits and services provided to Canada’s Veterans to ensure they receive the care and support they need and deserve
    • recommendations to address barriers or impediments to care and support resulting from departmental processes, directives and administrative tools

    The scope of the Advisory Group includes the full range of policy and service delivery aspects of the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) programs, services and benefits related to care and support offered through:

    • Health care and treatment benefits
    • Veterans Independence Program
    • Long Term Care Program
  2. 1.2 The Care & Support Advisory Group will collaborate with the other advisory groups on Departmental initiatives where there is a shared interest, dependent on departmental priorities and subject to change.

2. COMPOSITION

  1. 2.1 To ensure the Care and Support Advisory Group’s effectiveness, the membership should be between ten and twelve members with expertise or experience in Veterans’ issues. Members will be named by the Minister of Veterans Affairs and will serve at the discretion of the Minister. Diversity will be sought when selecting members. Members may resign at any time. The Minister holds the right to appoint or dismiss a member at any time.

  2. 2.2 Members

    May include Veterans, representatives of Veteran organizations, including RCMP Veterans organizations, non-profit, public and private sector leaders, academics and educators, family members and/or caregivers of Veterans; and youth.

  3. 2.2.1 Co-chairs

    A co-chair will be selected from and by the members of the Advisory Group and will serve for a two-year term.

    A VAC senior official will be named as the VAC co-chair.

  4. 2.3 Officials (attendance may vary, depending on availability)
    • Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
    • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    • Chief of Staff, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    • Other Ministerial officials
    • Senior Departmental officials
  5. 2.4 Observer

    Office of the Veterans Ombudsman representative.

  6. 2.5 Veterans, representatives from Veterans’ organizations, other representatives from VAC ministerial advisory groups, subject-matter experts and other Government of Canada officials may be invited to participate in the Advisory Group meetings, as required.

3. CODE OF CONDUCT, APPOINTMENT, DISMISSAL

  1. 3.1 To allow for a frank and open discussion and to promote a culture of mutual trust, respect, professionalism, integrity and accountability, members will be required to sign a Code of Conduct, attached as Annex A to these Terms of Reference. Non-compliance with the Code of Conduct may result in dismissal from the advisory group.

  2. 3.2. Members may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement pending the decision of the Advisory Group to which they are appointed

  3. 3.3 Appointment and Dismissal of member

    3.3.1 The Minister holds the right to appoint and dismiss a member at any time.

    3.3.2 If a member does not meet the expectations outlined by these Terms of Reference and the Code of Conduct, the Group may provide the member with a warning, followed by counseling from the member co-chair. If the situation remains unresolved to the Group’s satisfaction, the Minister may proceed with the dismissal of the individual from the membership.

4. MEETINGS

  1. 4.1 The Advisory Group will meet quarterly, based on a pre-established schedule.

  2. 4.2 A quorum of 66% of Advisory Group members is required for meetings. No decisions or recommendations can be made without a quorum. Co-chairs’ approval is required for substitution if a member cannot attend.

  3. 4.3 The work of the Advisory Group will be conducted in a manner that fosters openness, communication, fairness and respect.

  4. 4.4 The co-chairs and/or members may be invited to attend additional meetings with other advisory groups, stakeholder organizations and others, as appropriate.

  5. 4.5 Media will not be invited to meetings without prior approval of the Minister.

5. RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. 5.1 The Advisory Group is expected to:

    • provide advice and recommendations to the Minister, either through written reports or in-person meetings
    • achieve consensus wherever possible in making recommendations and presenting advice; however, if there is a dissenting opinion it will be recorded
    • develop advice and recommendations supported by perspectives gathered from stakeholder consultation and engagement activities, from meetings such as summits as well as through presentations and input from subject-matter experts and others, as deemed appropriate
    • provide progress reports at stakeholder summits
  2. 5.2 Advisory Group members belonging to advocacy organizations will retain their right to advocate on behalf of their constituents without compromising the work of the Group.

  3. 5.3 As detailed below, the Department will support the Advisory Group by preparing documents, keeping relevant records, web publishing, facilitating meetings and taking into consideration the Advisory Group’s recommendations and advice.

6. DOCUMENTATION, RECORD KEEPING AND PUBLICATION

  1. 6.1 Meeting agendas, terms of reference, records of discussions and any supporting documents prepared by or for the Government of Canada, will be provided to members in both official languages. Other documents may be provided in the language in which they were created.

  2. 6.2 Records of Discussion (ROD) will be prepared for all meetings, and circulated to the co-chairs for review within 15 working days after the meeting by the Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach (SEO) Directorate. No comments will be attributed to a particular individual. Following the Minister’s approval, the RoD will be disseminated to meeting participants and will be posted on the VAC website.

  3. 6.3 Advisory Group members also agree to the publication of their names on the VAC website.

  4. 6.4 The Terms of Reference of the Advisory Group will be posted on the VAC website.

7. COMMUNICATIONS

  1. 7.1 At the conclusion of each meeting, members may agree on prepared lines to be shared with Veterans, Veteran stakeholder organizations and other stakeholders as needed.

  2. 7.2 It is recognized that Advisory Group members may need to report and disseminate information to their membership, whether in writing, by e-mail, in person or on the Internet (web page/Facebook). However, members are reminded of the expectations set out in clause 3.3 and in the Code of Conduct with respect to the treatment of information of a confidential, privileged and personal nature.

8. MANAGEMENT AND SUPPORT

  1. 8.1 The management responsibility to assist and support the Advisory Group lies with the SEO Directorate.

  2. 8.2 The SEO Directorate will arrange meetings and facility accommodations, provide translation, obtain ministerial approvals and organize travel and accommodations for members as required. It will also provide meeting note-taking and preparation of Records of Discussion. In consultation with the co-chairs and with approval of the Minister, the SEO Directorate will also prepare and disseminate the agenda and supporting documentation within three to five working days prior to an Advisory Group meeting.

9. COSTS

  1. 9.1 VAC will cover meeting costs, including facility rental and associated costs, travel as per the Treasury Board of Canada Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures and the translation, printing and distribution of the Advisory Groups’ reports and publications.

  2. 9.2 All travel must be pre-authorized by VAC. Members will provide their travel and transportation receipts, to be reimbursed, in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, to SEO’s office. All receipts for reimbursement should be submitted within ten days following the completion of a trip.

  3. 9.3 All Advisory Group members agree and confirm that membership in this group is voluntary and unpaid. While VAC reimburses reasonable travel, meeting and other pre-approved costs, there is no other compensation for membership. Membership does not create an employee/employer relationship and membership does not preclude the members from otherwise contracting or engaging with the Crown.

10. AGREEMENT

  1. 10.1 These Terms of Reference and the Code of Conduct, attached as Annex A, have been discussed with the Advisory Group members.

  2. 10.2 Newly appointed members will be informed of members’ responsibilities by the co-chairs, and asked to agree to the Terms of Reference and sign the Code of Conduct.

ANNEX A CODE OF CONDUCT

  1. In an effort to promote a culture of mutual trust, respect, professionalism, integrity and accountability amongst members of the Advisory Group, members are expected to adhere to the following:

    1. Members shall attend and actively participate in all meetings.
    2. Members shall not disclose the Group’s recommendations until the Minister approves the sharing of information beyond VAC;
    3. Members shall inform the co-chair(s) of any potential or perceived conflict of interest.
    4. Members shall refrain from engaging in conduct that would discredit or compromise the integrity of the Advisory Group, the Minister, or his office.
    5. Members may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement pending the decision of the Advisory Group to which they are appointed.
  2. Acknowledgement

  3. I, the undersigned, _______________, acknowledge that I have read and understand the Terms of Reference of the Advisory Group and this Code of Conduct. I hereby confirm my commitment to fulfilling my duties as a member of the Group in accordance with the Terms of Reference and this Code of Conduct.

  4. I understand that by signing this, I am bound by this Code and by the Terms of Reference. I also understand that if I do not act in accordance with either of these, I could be dismissed from the Advisory Group.

  5. Printed Name: __________________________
    Signature: __________________________
    Date: _____________

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