Just 400 claims have been received in the first six months of the federally-funded vaccine injury support program (VISP) which costs $21 million dollars to administer through a private consulting firm, Raymond Chabot Grant Thorton Consulting Incorporated (RCGT).
The new information about the lack of compensation awarded was uncovered through a government response to an order paper question posed by Alberta Conservative MP Arnold Viersen.
The reply to the inquiry of the health ministry detailed the maximum allowable amount for COVID-19 vaccine injury compensation as well as the government's reluctance to make any payments to Canadians who have been harmed by COVID-19 vaccines.
The VISP provides financial support to those who experience a serious and permanent injury as a result of receiving a Health Canada authorized vaccine, administered in Canada, on or after December 8, 2020. The program also provides death benefits and support for funeral expenses. Claimants have three years to apply for compensation.
Public Health Canada states that:
To be eligible for the VISP, an individual must have experienced a serious and permanent injury as a result of receiving a Health Canada authorized vaccine, administered in Canada on or after December 8, 2020. A serious and permanent injury is defined as a severe, life-threatening or life-altering injury that may require in-person hospitalization or a prolongation of existing hospitalization, and results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, or where the outcome is a congenital malformation or death.
According to the order paper response:
- As of November 30, 2021, 400 claims have been received by RCGT, and fewer than five claims have been approved by RCGT. Due to privacy reasons, specific figures cannot be disclosed until a sufficient number of claims have been approved. This approach ensures the anonymity of claimants.
- The program parameters established by PHAC [Public Health Agency of Canada] include the following maximum thresholds for financial support categories: income replacement indemnities up to a maximum of $100,000 per year; injury indemnities up to a maximum of $275,000; death benefits up to a maximum of $450,000; funeral costs up to a maximum of $7,000; and reimbursement of eligible costs including but not limited to medical and rehabilitation costs otherwise not covered by public or private insurance or benefit programs.
- $75 million has been earmarked for the first five years of the program and does not include costs or the province of Quebec which administers a separate, similar program.
- A total of $21.2 million over five years has been allocated to RCGT for the administration of the program. This amount does not include financial support to claimants. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set out the policy parameters under which RCGT is responsible for implementing the VISP, such as the eligibility criteria and the maximum financial support amounts available.
The VISP does not include claims and statistics from Quebec, which administers a separate, similar program of its own.