BILL NO. 160
1st Session, 64th General Assembly
71 Elizabeth II, 2022
Private Member's Bill
Seniors Advocate Act
First Reading: April 13, 2022
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Seniors Advocate Act.
2 In this Act,
(a) "agency" has the same meaning as in the Ombudsman Act;
(b) "department" means a department of the Government and includes an agency;
(c) "House" means the House of Assembly;
(d) "intersectionality" means the overlapping and interdependent system of disadvantage due to such factors as poverty, class, race and gender;
(e) "Minister" means the Minister of Seniors and Long Term Care;
(f) "prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations;
(g) "senior" means a resident of the Province aged
(h) "Seniors Advocate" means the Seniors Advocate established under Section 3;
(i) "seniors' services" means prescribed programs, services or systems of support in relation to health care, personal care, housing, transportation or income support that are used by or associated with seniors;
(j) "service provider" means a prescribed public or private person or body who funds or delivers, in whole or in part, seniors' services;
(k) "systemic challenges" include but are not limited to issues with health care, long-term care, housing, income supports, transportation and community care.
3 (1) Subject to Section 11, there is hereby established, as an officer of the House, a Seniors Advocate.
(2) The Seniors Advocate shall be appointed by the Governor in Council.
(3) The Seniors Advocate may not be a member of the House and may not hold any office of trust or profit, other than the office as Seniors Advocate, or engage in any occupation for reward outside the duties of that office without prior approval in each particular case by the House or by the Governor in Council when the House is not in session.
(4) The Seniors Advocate shall be paid such salary as is determined from time to time by the Governor in Council.
(5) Before entering upon the exercise of the duties of the office, the Seniors Advocate shall take an oath to faithfully and impartially perform the duties of the office and to not divulge any information received under this Act except of the purpose of giving effect to this Act.
(6) The Speaker or the Chief Clerk of the House shall administer the oath referred to in subsection (5).
(7) The costs and expenses incurred by the Seniors Advocate or in the administration of this Act must be paid from the General Revenue Fund of the Province.
4 (1) The Seniors Advocate is responsible for
(a) monitoring the provision of seniors' services;
(b) analyzing issues that the Seniors Advocate believes to be important to the welfare of seniors generally; and
(c) advocating in the interests of seniors.
(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the Seniors Advocate shall
(a) identify and analyze systemic challenges faced by seniors;
(b) apply the lens of intersectionality to seniors' issues in recognition of the fact that seniors are a diverse population;
(c) receive and address individual complaints by seniors or their families;
(d) collaborate with persons who deliver seniors' services for the purpose of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery;
(e) promote awareness, by seniors, their caregivers and their families, of systemic challenges faced by seniors, and of the resources available to seniors; and
(f) make recommendations to government and to service providers respecting changes to improve the welfare of seniors.
(3) The Seniors Advocate may engage in any activity necessary to effectively and efficiently fulfill the responsibilities of the Seniors Advocate under this Act including
(a) conducting research, interviews and surveys; and
(b) consulting with service providers and with the public.
5 For the purpose of the role of the Seniors Advocate, the Seniors Advocate may request and have access to information, other than personal information within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
(a) from a service provider; or
(b) collected under the Adult Protection Act, the Protection for Persons in Care Act and any other statute that deals directly with seniors.
6 (1) The Seniors Advocate shall advise, in an independent manner, the Minister, public officials and persons who deliver seniors' services
(a) on systemic challenges faced by seniors;
(b) on policies and practices respecting those challenges; and
(c) on any matter arising from the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Seniors Advocate under this Act.
(2) The Seniors Advocate may report to the public, in any manner, on any matter arising from the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Seniors Advocate under this Act.
(3) The Seniors Advocate must report to the Minister at least once each year on the activities of the Seniors Advocate, and may include recommendations relevant to preventing and mitigating systemic challenges faced by seniors.
(4) The Minister shall ensure that each report received under subsection (3) is made public within 30 days of receiving it.
7 The Seniors Advocate may appoint such employees as the Seniors Advocate deems necessary for the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Seniors Advocate and may set their remuneration and other terms and conditions of their employment.
8 (1) The Seniors Advocate may establish an advisory council for the purpose of providing advice to the Seniors Advocate respecting the priorities and the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Seniors Advocate under this Act.
(2) The Seniors Advocate may appoint members to the advisory council from the former Senior Citizens' Secretariat.
9 No person shall discharge, suspend, intimidate, evict or impose a financial or other penalty on or otherwise discriminate against a person because the other person gives information to the Seniors Advocate or otherwise assists the Seniors Advocate in fulfilling the Seniors Advocate's responsibilities under this Act.
10 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing programs, services and systems of support in relation to health care, personal care, housing, transportation or income support for seniors;
(b) prescribing public or private persons or bodies as service providers for the purpose of this Act;
(c) defining words or expressions used but not defined in this Act;
(d) respecting any matter that the Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is a regulation within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
11 The money required for the purpose of this Act must be paid out of money appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature.
12 The Seniors' Advisory Council of Nova Scotia is dissolved.
13 Chapter 420 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Senior Citizens' Secretariat Act is repealed.
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