Frequently Asked Questions - For Implementing Organizations Surviving Spousal or Common-law Partner Priority Entitlement

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1. Who determines whether a death is attributable to the performance of duties?

For the purpose of this priority entitlement, a death is deemed to be attributable to the performance of duties if the spouse or common-law partner qualifies under a federally or provincially legislated plan, such as the Government Employees Compensation Act (GECA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act or the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties.

Employees
For employees, the Labour Program of Human Resources Skills and Development Canada (HRSDC) is responsible for administering the GECA on behalf of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Once an employer reports a death in the workplace, the Labour Program reviews the claim and determines whether the employer is covered under the GECA. The appropriate provincial workers’ compensation authority then officially assesses the claim to approve it or not.

Members
For members of the Canadian Forces (CF) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the determination is made by the CF and the Department of Veteran Affairs in accordance with the appropriate act.

2. How will organizations ensure that they are made aware of situations where the death of an employee or a member may entitle the surviving spouse or common-law partner to this priority?

Employees and members
Organizations will be responsible, through their labour relations and/or compensation officials, to develop their own internal administrative procedures for identifying these situations and communicating with the surviving spouse or common-law partner, if any, to advise them of this priority entitlement. The PSC has developed a number of tools (sample letters, FAQs and a registration form) that may be adapted to suit the organization’s obligation to communicate and explain the entitlement to the surviving spouses or common-law partners.

3. Who will advise the surviving spouses or common-law partners of the employees/members whose death occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001, and ending May 12, 2010 and register those who are interested in benefitting from this priority entitlement? How will it be done?

Employees
The PSC, through the Labour Program of HRSDC, will advise the surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees covered under the GECA, using the sample letter developed by the PSC. The surviving spouses or common-law partners will also receive a set of FAQs and a registration form which, should they be interested in benefitting from the priority entitlement, they must complete and send to the PSC to initiate the registration. The PSC will ONLY register the surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees of the public service whose death occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001, and ending on May 12, 2010.

Members
For the members of the CF and the RCMP, their respective organizations will advise and register their members using the Priority Information Management System (PIMS) electronic on-line registration form. The CF and the RCMP may wish to use the tools developed by the PSC and adapt them to their needs.

4. Who will register the surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees/members as of May 12, 2010? How will it be done?

Emlpoyees and members
Respective organizations will be responsible for registering the surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees or CF/RCMP members using the PIMS electronic on-line registration form.

5. What documentation will the PSC require to support the registration in all cases?

Organizations should refer to section 8.8 of Chapter 8 of the Guide on Priority Administration to verify what documentation is required for specific details.

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