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Pension Advocate Services (VAC PPU 365)

Description: This bank describes information that is used in support of the services delivered by the Bureau of Pensions Advocates (BPA), which provides legal advice, assistance, and representation before the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) to individuals dissatisfied with decisions made with respect to their claims for disability benefits and for War Veterans Allowance appeals. Personal information may include name; contact information; biographical information; date and place of birth; date and place of death; death certificate; financial information; gender; marital status; spouse/common law information; dependent children information; opinion of, or about, individuals; photos/videos or voice recordings; accident and injury information; Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Disability Program decision and/or entitlement information about the individual; decisions of the VRAB about the individual; military service number; military service information; military and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) personnel information (which may include records of attendance and leave, disciplinary actions, work arrangements, postings, appraisals); client identifier information; language; health information; documentary evidence; witness statements; signature; and travel expenses. Other required personal information may include whether the applicant is a VAC employee, other information required for identity validation, and information regarding a representative. 

Note: Revised in 2019. Some personal information is subject to solicitor-client privilege. Information may be stored in VAC's physical and electronic systems including: Client Services Delivery Network (CSDN) and/or GCCase, which may include client initiated actions and responses made through My VAC Account, and/or VAC staff/contracted resource initiated actions and responses made through Benefits and Health Services On-line (BHSOL).

Some documents received from the Department of National Defence (DND) may reference the Social Insurance Number (SIN) as DND personnel were required to use the SIN as their personal identification number between 1960 and 1990.

Class of Individuals: War service Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans, members and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), survivors, dependants, and/or representatives.

Purpose: The personal information is used by BPA to provide legal advice, representation, and services to people who apply for disability benefits and want to appeal the decision or assessment of the Department. Information is collected under the authority of the Pension Act, section 109, and the Veterans Well-being Act, section 81.

Consistent Uses: Information may be used and disclosed for planning, research, development, evaluation and/or reporting of programs, policies and services. The use and disclosure is limited to VAC areas that are involved in the identified program, service and policy, and may also be shared with senior management.

Personal information may be shared with other VAC programs, including programs covered by the application waiver provision under sections 80.1 of the Pension Act and/or 78.1 of the Veterans Well-being Act, for the purpose of determining eligibility for additional benefits, assessments, case management, mental health initiatives, and/or commemorative activities, where applicable.

Personal information may be shared with VRAB to determine eligibility for benefits and for appeal purposes. Refer to personal information banks Individual Case Summaries (VRAB PPU 095) and Reviews and Appeals (VRAB PPU 080). Information regarding claims and precedents may be used occasionally to support claims of a similar nature.

Name, contact information and medical information may be shared with qualified medical practitioners to obtain medical opinions in support of claims and with contract commissionaires who attend VRAB Review hearings to provide a security presence, swear clients in and record proceedings.

Personal information may be shared with the Department of National Defence (DND) to obtain Service Records and/or Service Health Records in support of program administration. Refer to DND Personal Information Banks – Canadian Forces Casualty Database (DND PPE 817), Administrative Review Case Files (DND PPE 814), Canadian Forces Member Personal Information File (DND PPE 818), Human Resources Management Information System (HRMS) (DND PPE 805), Unit Military Personnel Bank (DND PPE 836), and Personnel Files – Training (DND PPE 842).

In accordance with an established Memorandum of Understanding, personal information may be shared with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to obtain Service Records and/or Service Health Records. Refer to LAC Personal Information Banks – Army Reserve Force Pay Sheets (LAC PPU 715), Collective Medical Records (LAC PPU 017), Dental Records (LAC PPU 721), Medical Records (LAC PPU 018), Microfiche Personal File (LAC PPU 023), Military Personnel Bank (LAC PPU 024), and Performance Evaluation Records (LAC PPU 028).

In accordance with an established Memorandum of Understanding, personal information obtained by VAC may be shared with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to obtain Service Records and/or Service Health Records from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and/or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Personal information may be obtained by PSPC in accordance with an established Memorandum of Agreement for the purpose of creating a digital image of the record for use by VAC (Refer to PSPC institution specific personal information bank, PWGSC PCU 709 - Document Imaging Solutions). Public Services and Procurement Canada will not use the personal information for the purposes of making administrative decisions.

Veterans Affairs Canada has contracted an authorized and approved third party, located in Canada, to provide transportation, storage, maintenance retrieval, delivery, and destruction services of VAC records, where applicable.

Retention and Disposal Standards: For appeal records which form part of the client record, the retention period is 7 years after the date of death of the applicant. If the date is not known, the retention period is 110 years after the date of birth provided there are no known dependents, no outstanding claims against the crown, no actions involving the estate, no indication on file of the legal status of a dependent, and no activity of any kind.

RDA Number: 2017/002

Related Records: Bureau of Pensions Advocates Class of Record VAC MVA 295

TBS Registration Number: 20091698

Bank Number: VAC PPU 365

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