Terms of reference – Commemoration advisory group

1. MANDATE AND SCOPE

  1. 1.1 The mandate of the Commemoration Advisory Group is to provide advice to the Minister of Veterans Affairs on how Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), through its Canada Remembers Program, can engage Canadians in paying tribute to all those who have served Canada since Confederation, including those who died in service, Veterans who are no longer with us and today’s Veterans.

    The scope of the Commemoration Advisory Group includes activities that typically fall under VAC’s Canada Remembers Program, such as:

    • commemorative events
    • funding for commemorative initiatives led by communities
    • learning resources to engage educators and youth
    • public information
    • memorials and cemeteries
    • financial assistance for funeral and burial
    • honours and awards
  2. 1.2 The Commemoration Advisory Group will collaborate and share information with the other advisory groups to ensure consistency and continuity between the groups’ work.

2. ADVISORY GROUP COMPOSITION

  1. 2.1 For effectiveness, the membership should be limited to ten members, with a broad range of expertise or experience related to commemoration. Members will be named by the Minister of Veterans Affairs. Members will serve for a period of up to two years, with the possibility of renewal at the discretion of the Minister. Members may resign at any time. The Minister holds the right to appoint or dismiss a member at any time.

  2. 2.2 Members

    The Commemoration Advisory Group may include Veterans, members of Veterans' families, representatives of Veterans’ organizations and the Canadian Armed Forces/Department of National Defence, as well as subject-matter experts.

  3. 2.2.1 Co-chairs

    A co-chair will be selected from and by the members of the Commemoration Advisory Group.

    The VAC Director General, Commemoration will serve as the other 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
    • Director of Policy, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    • Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    • Deputy Minister, Veterans Affairs Canada
    • Associate Deputy Minister, Veterans Affairs Canada
    • Director, Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Directorate
  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 Commemoration Advisory Group meetings, as required.

3. CODE OF CONDUCT, APPOINTMENT, DISMISSAL

  1. 3.1 Members will be required to sign a Code of Conduct, attached as Annex A to these Terms of Reference.

  2. 3.2 Appointment and Dismissal of member

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

    3.2.2 If a member does not meet the expectations outlined by these Terms of Reference, specifically sub-sections 4.3, 5.2, 5.3 and 7.2, or by 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 Commemoration Advisory Group will meet in person two to three times per year. If required, members may meet more frequently by teleconference.

  2. 4.2 A quorum of 66% of Commemoration 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 Commemoration 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 Commemoration Advisory Group meetings without prior approval of the Minister.

5. RESPONSIBILITIES AND DELIVERABLES

  1. 5.1 The Commemoration 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 may 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 All members and other participants are expected:

    • to be respectful;
    • to maintain the confidentiality of deliberations at all times;
    • not to disclose privileged or protected information or information of a personal nature; and
    • not to disclose the Group’s recommendations until the Minister approves the sharing of information beyond VAC; inform the co-chair(s) of any potential or perceived conflict of interest.
    • to inform the co-chair(s) of any potential or perceived conflict of interest.
  3. 5.3 Commemoration Advisory Group members belonging to advocacy organizations will retain their right to advocate on behalf of their constituents without compromising the work of the Commemoration Advisory Group.

  4. 5.4 As detailed below, the Department will support the Commemoration Advisory Group by preparing documents, keeping relevant records, web publishing, facilitating meetings and taking into consideration the Commemoration 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 Commemoration Advisory Group members also agree to the publication of their names on the VAC website.

  4. 6.4 The Terms of Reference of the Commemoration 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 Commemoration Advisory Group participants 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 5.2 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 Commemoration 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 a Commemoration 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 Commemoration 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 Commemoration 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 have been discussed and agreed to by the Commemoration 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 Policy Advisory Group, members are expected to adhere to the following:

    1. Members shall attend and actively participate in all meetings.
    2. Members undertake to treat as confidential all information, identified as such, that is disclosed or discussed during a meeting or provided to support the work of the Policy Advisory Group.
    3. Members undertake not to disclose to any person any privileged or personal information received in preparation for, during or emanating from the discussions of the Policy Advisory Group, whether orally or in writing, except to other members of the Policy Advisory Group, unless authorized by the Group’s co-chairs.
    4. Members shall not disclose the Group’s recommendations until the Minister approves the sharing of information beyond VAC;
    5. Members shall inform the co-chair(s) of any potential or perceived conflict of interest.
    6. Members shall refrain from engaging in conduct that would discredit or compromise the integrity of the Policy Advisory Group, the Minister, or his office.
  2. Acknowledgement

  3. I, the undersigned, _______________, acknowledge that I have read and understand the Terms of Reference of the Policy 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 Policy Advisory Group.

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

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