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New tool helps Canadians navigate federal vaccine injury compensation program

Queen’s University’s Conflict Analytics Lab has created a new tool that uses AI to determine if clients are eligible for compensation after suffering complications due to a vaccine. 

The tool, developed in collaboration with their partners at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, Université Paris-Dauphine and Oxford University, helps individuals navigate no-fault compensation schemes that have been established in Canada.

According to the Lab, a no-fault vaccine compensation scheme is a “program that offers eligible individuals, who have experienced adverse effects from a vaccine, injury compensation.”

The types of compensation eligible within no-fault compensation schemes include lump-sum payments or partial payments over time.

In Canada, a Vaccine Injury Support Program (VISP) was announced in December 2020. Before this, Canada was among one of the only G7 nations to not have a nationally established VISP program.

A third-party administrator was then selected to administer the VISP via an open solicitation process.  For the application to be successful it must meet a set of criteria:

  1. Authorized Vaccine: Any person receiving a Health Canada authorized vaccine
  2. Time Frame: Claims can be filed within three years after the date of vaccination, date of death or date when an injury first becomes apparent
  3. Injury Reported: Injury reported to health care provider
  4. Eligibility Date: Date of vaccination was on or after December 8, 2020
  5. Administered in Canada: The vaccine was administered in Canada (exceptions apply)
  6. Serious and permanent: The injury is serious and permanent or has resulted in death”

Project Leader Avinash Pillay, who is a third-year JD candidate, says that the federal program is essentially a “copy and paste” from Quebec’s already established Vaccine Injury Support Program.  

“It doesn’t really work as effectively because you can’t just copy-paste the Quebec quantity at a national level,” Pillay said. He points out that the vaccineinjurysupport.ca, the website responsible for accepting claims, had not had the capability to have a claim submitted until three months after the application had been formally released.

Pillay hopes that the program will be used as a “middleman” for people who need to submit forms to the Vaccine Injury Support Program. He says the questionnaire can automatically direct individuals to submit a VISP claim and can provide personalized next steps on what to do next.

At the same time, Pillay says they want to use the data to decrease the rate of misinformation and increase the rate of vaccination.

“While we’re taking in all this data, as the surveys from the users, we’re conducting research, we’re doing publications, we’re trying to publish like medical journals, legal journals, etc, so we can decrease the rate of it misinformation and increase the rate of vaccination,” Pillay said in an interview with YGK News.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says that RCGT Consulting, the independent third-party administrator of the Vaccine Injury Support Program, has not yet begun public reporting of claims received.

“[RCGT Consulting] will begin periodic public reporting on the number of claims received, and the number of claims resulting in compensation awards, later this year,” Alexander Beattie of the Public Health Agency of Canada told YGK News.

The agency says that its alignment with Quebec’s longstanding Vaccine Injury Compensation campaign will “strengthen national immunization campaigns by ensuring fair and equitable access to support all individuals vaccinated in Canada.”

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