Canada-British Columbia Agreement 2004 - Annex A: Joint Mechanisms for Co-operation and Consultation

Annex A:
Joint Mechanisms for Co-operation and Consultation

1.0 Committee Structure

1.1 Program Management Committee (PMC)

  1. A joint PMC will continue with a general mandate to oversee the implementation of this Agreement, including discussion and exchange of information, managing collaborative programs, making decisions or recommendations, as appropriate, on matters pertaining to the Agreement and resolving disputes. The PMC will also serve as the forum for raising new immigration issues not addressed in this Agreement.
  2. The PMC shall meet at least twice annually and shall have two co-chairs, one to be designated by the Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and one to be designated by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services, British Columbia.
  3. The PMC will consist of the Assistant Deputy Minister from British Columbia and the Director General, British Columbia / Yukon Region, or their designates. Other members of this committee shall include Citizenship and Immigration Regional and National Headquarters officials and, as appropriate, federal departments and provincial ministries responsible for programs and services related to immigration.
  4. The PMC may establish, by mutual agreement, ad hoc groups or sub-committees, with third party participation if appropriate, for the purpose of implementing this Agreement. These groups and sub-committees may develop and recommend to the PMC additional annexes to this Agreement.

1.2 Sub-Committees

  1. As per 1.1 d), both Parties agree to maintain sub-committees to address matters related to the following policy and program areas, including but not limited to the following:
    1. Refugees and Refugee claimants, which will include:
      1. Determination of the net costs borne by British Columbia relating to refugee claimants and consideration of ways to mitigate these costs, which may include future compensation for British Columbia;
      2. Consideration of the jurisdictional issues and of the fragmented nature of services to refugees and refugee claimants, including separated minors and exploration of opportunities to provide better co-ordinated or joint services by the two levels of government; and
      3. Participation by British Columbia in the multilateral forum established by Canada to make recommendations on the refugee determination process and to address issues concerning compensation to provinces for services.
    2. Settlement Services: as outlined in Annex B.
  2. Each sub-committee will establish specific Terms of Reference which include mandate objectives, key activities, membership and meeting requirements. In general, the purpose of the sub-committees is to:
    1. foster a collaborative approach with respect to issues related to the policy and program area;
    2. create a forum that will allow for a productive exchange of ideas and information and to enhance communication and co-ordination between Canada and British Columbia;
    3. ensure related activities occur as outlined in this agreement and its annexes;
    4. delineate roles and responsibilities of Canada and British Columbia with respect to matters related to the policy and program area; and
    5. report and make recommendations to the PMC

2.0 Consultation

2.1 Each Party shall provide reasonable advance notice of proposed changes to legislation, regulations, policies, programs and procedures that could have a significant impact on the other Party.

2.2 The most appropriate mechanisms for consultation may be established by mutual agreement and may include telephone communication, exchange of letters, ad hoc meetings, meetings of the Policy and Planning Committee and the PMC, and other bilateral or multilateral fora.

2.3 Each Party has the right to request a meeting on any proposed changes which could have a significant impact on the other Party, and such requests will not be unreasonably denied. Such meetings will take place prior to implementation of proposed changes.

2.4 Each Party will acknowledge and respond, within a reasonable time, to requests for consultations and to proposals made by the other Party.

2.5 Canada will endeavour to implement policy, program and legislative changes, agreed to through consultation processes as expeditiously as possible.

3.0 Dispute Resolution Process

3.1 In case of any dispute or disagreement under this Agreement or any annex, Canada and British Columbia through their respective officials shall undertake verbal or written dialogue to attempt to resolve the dispute or disagreement.

3.2 In the event that the respective officials from Canada and British Columbia are unable to resolve any dispute or disagreement within ten (10) working days, the matter shall be referred to the PMC for resolution.

3.3 Procedures for addressing disputed issues will be determined by the PMC and will ensure that the following principles are incorporated into any dispute resolution process: process is purpose driven, flexible, provides equal opportunity for representation by each party, establishes clear time limits and ensures clear guidelines exist for implementation of final decisions.

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