Information & Verification

Overview

The Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act (Section 10) authorize the ministry to:

  • request information or seek verification of information related to eligibility for assistance;
  • declare a family unit ineligible for assistance for failure to provide or verify information as directed.

Obtaining and verifying information helps to ensure that accurate and complete information is used to determine eligibility. Verification must balance the ministry obligation to verify a client’s circumstances in order to assess their eligibility with a commitment to respecting the client’s right to privacy and to be treated with respect and dignity. 

Additionally, the ministry has the duty to accommodate and an obligation to consider mitigating circumstances that may impact the ability of the applicant or recipient to comply with a request under Section 10. For example, the applicant or recipient may require additional time to comply with a request under Section 10 due to a disability or other situation that will impact their ability to obtain the information or document in a timely manner.  

Ministry staff are responsible for determining eligibility for assistance.  Clients are responsible for providing relevant information and or documents to demonstrate eligibility for assistance.

Ministry staff have a responsibility to:

  • detect and address inconsistencies in client information;
  • ensure relevant supporting documentation and information is obtained to establish eligibility;
  • prevent overpayments where possible;
  • pursue overpayments. [For information on Overpayments, see Related Links – Recoveries] 

The overall objective of the verification process is to maintain the integrity of BC Employment and Assistance programs by:

  • ensuring that assistance is available and provided to those who meet the eligibility criteria;
  • ensuring that assistance is paid fairly and equitably; and
  • reducing error and abuse.

Policy

Effective: June 15, 2015

For the purposes of
 

  • determining or auditing eligibility for assistance,
  • assessing employability and skills for the purpose of an employment plan, or
  • assessing compliance with the conditions of an employment plan

Section 10 of the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act authorize the ministry to:
 

  • direct an applicant or recipient to supply information within the time and the manner specified by the ministry
  • direct an applicant or recipient to supply verification of information:
    • provided to the ministry by an applicant or recipient; or
    • received by the ministry from another source and which relates to the family unit’s eligibility for assistance;
  • seek verification (from a third party, e.g. CRA via data match, banks via direct information request, etc.) of any information supplied to the ministry by an applicant or recipient

Note: When verifying information with other persons or agencies, staff must only disclose enough client information as is necessary to the other persons or agencies to comply with the request [see Related Links – Information Privacy and Security (FOIPPA)].

Effective: June 15, 2015

When using section 10 of the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act to obtain information or seek verification of information, ministry staff must ensure that:
 

  • there is a reasonable basis to believe the information and/or documentation exists at the time of the request;
  • the information and/or documentation is legally accessible by the applicant or recipient; [For more information, see Policy – Limitations of Section 10]
  • the applicant or recipient is clearly informed of the information and/or documentation required;
  • the applicant or recipient is given information on how to provide the information and/or documentation to the ministry;
  • the applicant or recipient is provided the reason(s) why the information and/or documentation are required;
  • the applicant or recipient is given a reasonable timeframe to meet the request (Note: the timeframe may vary according to the circumstances of the individual and/or the accessibility of the information/documentation being requested);
  • any information and/or documentation requested from a third party is directly related to determining or auditing the applicant’s or recipient’s current, ongoing, or past eligibility;
  • the applicant or recipient is advised of the consequences of not complying with the direction under section 10 of the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and sections 32 and 28 of the respective regulations; [For more information, see Policy – Failure to Comply with Direction under Section 10] and
  • the steps taken above are documented.

For more information, see Procedures – Verification Interview.

For information on cheque signalling, see Related Links – Individual Case Management – Policy – Reasonable Attempts Prior to Cheque Signalling.

Effective: June 15, 2015

If an applicant or recipient fails to comply with a direction given under section 10 (1) or (2) of the Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act to supply information or verification of information, section 10 (4) of the Acts and sections 32 and 28 of the respective regulations made under the Acts, authorize the ministry to declare the family unit ineligible for assistance until the applicant or recipient complies with the direction.

Before denying assistance under section 10, ministry staff must ensure that:
 

  • the request for information and/or documentation is compliant with policy outlined in the Authority to Seek Information and/or Documentation section;
  • relevant steps have been taken in the Authority to Direct an Applicant or Recipient section; and
  • the applicant or recipient failed to comply with the request for information and/or documentation. For example, the applicant or recipient had been clearly advised of what was required and was given adequate time but has not taken reasonable action to comply.

An applicant or recipient should not be declared ineligible under section 10 if the applicant or recipient is prevented by circumstances outside their control from obtaining the verification/information.

For example:

  • an applicant is unable to obtain pay records as the business has closed (but the client has provided the business name and address).
  • an applicant’s roommate who is also the applicant’s landlord refuses to provide a copy of the Rental Agreement to show whether or not the applicant’s roommate is the primary tenant.

Where an applicant or recipient has provided information and given valid reason(s) why they are unable to obtain information/documentation required to establish or confirm eligibility, staff should take action to obtain the information/documentation.

For example: 

  • if an applicant is unable to obtain records of pay from a current or past employer, ministry staff should contact the employer to obtain the information, rather than declaring the applicant ineligible under section 10.

An applicant or recipient should not be declared ineligible under section 10 (i.e., for not complying with direction under section 10) if ineligibility can be determined by applying the underlying eligibility criteria (e.g., assets in excess, income in excess) where there is evidence to support the decision.

For example: 

  • where the ministry has information that an applicant’s vehicle has equity value above the applicant’s asset limit and the applicant does not provide information that the equity value is under the asset limit, the applicant would be declared ineligible under the asset limits section of regulation, not under Section 10.
  • where the ministry does not have information about the equity value of the vehicle, staff may direct the applicant or recipient, under Section 10, to provide such information.  If the applicant or recipient fails to comply with the direction, the ministry may declare the applicant or recipient ineligible under Section 10.

[For more information, see Policy – Limitations of Section 10]

Effective: June 15, 2015

Section 10 (4) should not be used to declare an applicant or recipient ineligible for assistance where:
 

  • the ministry has reasonable basis to conclude that the information or document requested does not exist or is not legally accessible to the applicant or recipient;
  • the ministry has other relevant documentation to determine eligibility;
  • there is evidence to support an eligibility decision being made under a different section of the legislation. For example,
    • the ministry has documents to show that a sole recipient deposited $1,000 into his/her bank account;
    • the ministry requested the recipient to provide verification that the $1,000 is exempt from income calculation (e.g., withdrawal from an RDSP);
    • the recipient did not provide the requested verification that the $1,000 is exempt from income calculation;
    • in this case, the ministry may apply the income to current eligibility or calculate an overpayment;
  • the ministry can verify/obtain information with/from other persons or agencies directly (e.g. bank or employer), through a data match (e.g. CRA), or through an information sharing agreement or memorandum of understanding (e.g. ICBC).

Examples where information or documentation does not exist:
 

  • a Record of Employment (ROE) for a self-employment situation (e.g., Avon Sales) or casual work such as babysitting, where ROE’s are not legally required to be issued
  • paystubs from a business that no longer exists

Examples where information or documentation is not legally accessible:
 

  • a third party information request where the ministry has no authority to gather information, such as an alleged spouse’s CRA Notice of Assessment to verify if they filed as a single person, common law or married, or a roommate’s information to verify utility costs

Examples where the ministry has no need to request the information:
 

  • a letter from a bank to confirm there are no accounts there, when the ministry has no information or evidence (such as a specific allegation, or the bank appearing in the Equifax report) to suggest the person may have an account there
  • proof of status of EI claim: the ministry has access to this information via the Web AOB link and/or the EI Common Claimant Report  

Authority under Section 10 does not:
 

  • allow the ministry to go directly to a third party for information received from another party about a client (e.g., an allegation). The ministry may only ask a third party for verification of information that a client provided to the ministry. For example, if a specific allegation is received that a client is working at ABC Company, staff must ask the client directly if the information is accurate. If they deny they are working, staff may then verify this information with ABC Company. If they confirm they are working, the client is given the opportunity to provide the required employment/payroll documents, and staff only contact the company if the client does not comply.

Effective: June 15, 2015

The verification process is designed to determine eligibility for assistance, assist clients in accessing alternate resources, verify and confirm the accuracy of clients’ eligibility information and to prevent error and misuse by conducting third party checks. 

The verification process helps ministry staff to determine if a client is eligible for assistance.  Clients are responsible for providing the requested information to demonstrate their eligibility for assistance.  [For more information on eligibility criteria, see Related Links – BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Application – Stage 1.]  The ministry has responsibility to verify accuracy to ensure assistance goes to people who meet the eligibility criteria by conducting third party checks on all applicants.  Examples (not an exhaustive list) of third party checks are:  Personal Property Registry, Canada Revenue Agency, Equifax, Insurance Corporation of BC, BC Assessment Authority, landlords and financial institutions. 

Effective: September 1, 2015

In performing eligibility and compliance reviews, staff use the declaration and consents obtained in the Application for Assistance to seek verification from third parties.  All client information will be treated in a confidential manner in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the respective information sharing agreements and/or memorandums of understanding. When verifying information, staff must not disclose more information than necessary when contacting outside agencies. [For information on Information and Privacy, see Related Links – Information Privacy and Security (FOIPPA).]

Staff explain the application process to applicants, confirm the accuracy of eligibility information, assist applicants in accessing alternate resources and prevent misuse and error.  Staff are required to identify applicants who may be eligible for other sources of income and assist them to access this income, such as Canada Pension Plan benefits.  In identifying other sources of income, this may help reduce the reliance on assistance.

The ability to accurately determine eligibility of applicants before assistance is issued is an important component in ensuring program integrity and preventing overpayments.  Staff must be alert to detect inaccurate information or circumstances presented by the applicant(s) or recipient(s) either inadvertently through misunderstanding or deliberately. 

Staff refer cases to Prevention and Loss Management Services Branch (PLMS) when information suggests that a client has received assistance for more than three months, for which they were not eligible.  PLMS Investigative Officers conduct compliance reviews to audit eligibility for assistance and to ensure a recipient’s continuing compliance with the BCEA program. PLMS Ministry Investigators conduct criminal investigations of BCEA program abuse. These reviews and investigations may result in correction to ongoing assistance, recovery of overpayments and legal action. For information on referrals to PLMS, see Related Links – Referral to PLMS for Review or Investigation. 

Family Maintenance

When a client declares child support and/or spousal support, this information may be found on the client’s support order or agreement.

If a client does not have an order or agreement filed with the court, the ministry can accept an agreement in writing that includes the following:
 

  • the amount of money that the payor agrees to pay;
  • the names of the respective children, if an amount is for child support;
  • the amount that the payor is paying for spousal support, if applicable;
  • the starting date and schedule of the payment (e.g., monthly payments commencing June 1, 2015); and
  • the name, signature and date of signature for the payor and client

A client is not required to obtain an order or agreement if there is a risk of violence.

[For detailed information on staff roles, see Related Links - Individual Case Management – Policy – Roles.]

Effective: February 27, 2017

Service Quality

Staff treat clients with respect and dignity and ensure the principles of administrative fairness are adhered to.  All new and existing clients will undergo an assessment of eligibility at application or during an eligibility review.  Clients are informed of the documentation or information required to meet the eligibility criteria and a date for submission.  Eligibility is determined once all required documentation has been supplied.  Applicants who meet all eligibility requirements will not experience a delay in the application process.

Confidentiality

To prove eligibility, clients must provide a variety of personal information.  The ministry must treat all information provided by the applicant or recipient in a confidential manner and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act.  Staff must be sensitive to client privacy concerns when verifying information.  Staff must not divulge more information than necessary when contacting outside agencies.  Questions and/or concerns regarding the disclosure of personal information can be directed to the Privacy, Compliance and Training Branch (PCT) Corporate Information and Records Management Office [see Contacts].

Applicant Consent

Staff must make every effort to ensure that applicants understand they are providing informed consent to the ministry’s collection of personal information, including from third parties, when they submit the Application for Assistance (Part 2 HR0080) or re-application (HR0080R) and when they sign the Application for Assistance - Consents (Part 1 HR0080B) or Application for Assistance - Verbal Consent (HR0080A). Staff are responsible for explaining the implications of providing consent to each applicant and confirms that the applicant understands the implications when they sign the application. 

When completing an application by telephone, staff must review the content of the application form with the applicant and obtain verbal consent from the applicant to collect, retain and verify the information the applicant has provided, with third parties.  Staff must document the verbal consent on the activity plan and the HR0080A and advise the applicant this consent is valid for 5 business days.  Within these 5 business days, the applicant is required to make physical contact with the ministry office or trusted third party site to sign the HR0080A.

The signed application authorizes the ministry to disclose information provided by the applicant for the purposes of verification.  This authority is granted under Section 10 of the Employment and Assistance Act and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.  Section 10 also authorizes the administering authority to withhold assistance if a client refuses to provide or permit verification of the information provided.

Right to Reconsideration and Appeal

The applicant or recipient has the right to request reconsideration and to appeal decisions regarding eligibility and must be advised of that right.

[see Related Links – Reconsideration and Appeal]

Case Information

Applicants and recipients have the right to access information on their BC Employment and Assistance case under the FOIPPA. Where an individual asks for the return of a document, the worker may supply a photocopy of that document, or may return the original and retain a copy where the original is of value and/or significance to the individual, i.e., their passport, or birth certificate.  Any questions with regard to records management of client case, and/or access to information should be directed to Information Access Operations (IAO) [see Contacts]. 

Effective: June 15, 2015

Section 10 of the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, in effect, gives the Minister the authority to impose on any  client the responsibility to provide all information and documentation necessary to demonstrate eligibility for assistance.

In cases where the client will not provide the necessary supporting information and documentation to assess eligibility, the client is denied assistance. The onus is on the client to provide all documents and information required in order for staff to determine eligibility for assistance.  Staff may assist the client in obtaining the documents where the client requires help.  Only when all required information is available can staff make an informed decision regarding eligibility and assistance levels. 

[For information and examples on how and when staff may assist clients who require help in obtaining documents, see Related Links – Individual Case Management – Policy – Staff Assisting Clients.]

[For more information about clients requiring assistance or the duty to accommodate, see Related Links – Individual Case Management – Policy and Procedures – Duty to Accommodate.] 

Effective: June 15, 2015

Third party checks are conducted to verify the income and assets declared by applicants or recipients. Third party checks must not be run unless valid consent is on the case.

Mandatory Third Party Checks

Ministry staff must complete the following mandatory checks for all applicants/recipients at application and as part of an Eligibility Review or a Compliance Review:
 

  • Personal Property Registry
  • BC Assessment Authority
  • Insurance Corporation of BC
  • Equifax - Consumer Credit Report
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Note: Some applicants and recipients may have not filed an income tax return for previous years.  Filing an income tax return is not a condition of eligibility.  However, recipients should be encouraged to file an income tax return annually in order to receive exempt tax credits and benefits, such as the Child Tax Benefit, the GST Credit, Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit,  and Working Income Tax Benefit. 

Other Third Party Checks may include but are not limited to:

  • Landlords
  • Employers
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Social Service Agencies in other provinces
  • Financial Institutions/Life Insurance Agencies
  • WorkSafe BC
  • WebAOBlink – Service Canada Employment Insurance database

Outstanding Warrants Verification Check

Ministry staff will need to confirm whether an applicant has an outstanding arrest warrant if:
 

  • applicant discloses they have an outstanding warrant;
  • applicant is unsure if they are subject to a warrant;
  • ministry is made aware of the possible existence of a warrant; or
  • at the Minister’s discretion.

The verification is conducted by Ministry of Justice [for more information, see Related Links – Warrants].

Effective: February 27, 2017

Where a ministry form requires a witness signature (e.g., the HR0080), a ministry trusted third party must witness the signature(s) and return the form to the Employment and Assistance Office.

Where a trusted third party witnesses the signature, ministry staff are responsible to fully explain to the applicant or recipient their rights, responsibilities, and the nature of the declaration and consent that they will be signing with the trusted third party. The trusted third party’s role is only to witness the signature, not to explain the form to the applicant or recipient.

In exceptional circumstances where an applicant is unable to reach an EAW/ministry staff or a trusted third party, the ministry may accept witness signatures from members in the following groups:
 

  • other government staff; or
  • prescribed professionals (see EAPWD Regulation, Section 2(2))

[See Related Links – BCEA Application Stage 1, BCEA Application Stage 2, Recoveries, Family Composition, and Eligibility Review]

Effective: June 15, 2015

Staff may request the applicant to provide further documentation to confirm circumstances and verify information.  This documentation may include but is not limited to:
 

  • Rent Receipts, tenancy agreements, and utility bills
  • Record of Employment (ROE)
  • Business records (i.e., payroll)
  • Bank Statements or Bank Profile
  • Tax Assessment
  • Immigration Status Documentation

Procedures

Effective: June 15, 2015

Correctly assessing eligibility during the application process or subsequent reviews relies on good communication and interviewing skills, common sense, curiosity, and scepticism when faced with situations that are not plausible.

Interviewing for Assessing Eligibility

It is the ministry staff’s role to assess eligibility for assistance and assist the clients in accessing alternate resources.  The best tool that staff have in determining eligibility is the effective use of interviewing skills.  Good interviewing, listening and observation skills are essential to accurately determine eligibility and help staff to identify those clients and circumstances most prone to supplying false, inaccurate or misleading information, and to follow up effectively with the client when specific concerns have been identified. 

Staff should conduct interviews with a focus on curiosity rather than judgment and provide the applicant or recipient with an opportunity to explain circumstances, and should use open-ended questions, direct questions, paraphrasing and other good interviewing skills to elicit as much information as possible related to eligibility. 

While completing the verification process, staff should follow these guidelines:
 

  • Review information prior to the interview using past case history (electronic and physical), and any pre-application information that is available. 
  • Put the client at ease, using a friendly but professional manner.  Remember that people tend to understand and provide more accurate information when a relationship of respect and trust has been established with the worker.
  • Ask questions that are clear and easy to understand.  Ask one question at a time.
  • Explain carefully the declarations, notification and consents ensuring clients understand how their information will be used and retained.
  • Explain carefully the appropriate policy/regulations and interpret how it relates to the client’s situation.
  • Emphasize reporting responsibilities and how they are to be met, as well as consequences for not reporting accurately. 
  • Request supporting documents if required before making an eligibility decision
  • Make thorough, accurate notes during and immediately after the interview meeting. 
  • Makes notes and complete activity plan steps and include how the client supported themselves in the past, what has changed, what resources have they exhausted and what are their plans for the near future.
  • Assess whether the information provided is logical in the situation and makes sense, given what is known about the circumstances, and recognizing one’s own potential bias.
  • Listen to information and observe any contradictions in information provided.
  • Review for consistency statements by the client and information contained in documents or other information. 
  • Assess whether the information is consistent with the mobility patterns and lifestyle.
  • Review third party check information for inconsistencies.

Effective: February 27, 2017

Third party checks must not be run unless valid consent is on the case.

Staff must keep in mind at all times the need to protect client confidentiality.  When contacting third party sources of information related to eligibility, identify yourself as ministry staff, and state the purpose of your inquiry, i.e., determination of eligibility.  Staff must not disclose information about the applicant or recipient beyond what is necessary to obtain the required information. 

Third party checks are to be conducted only for administering the Employment and Assistance Program.  Staff must not access third party information for any other purpose or for personal use.  Breaches are considered a serious issue and may result in disciplinary action. 

Mandatory Third Party Checks

The following are third party checks that must be completed for all applicants/recipients at application and as part of an Eligibility Review or a Compliance Review:
 

  • BC Online
    • Personal Property Registry
    • BC Assessment Authority
  • ‚ÄčConsumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Information is available from the third parties identified below:
 

  • BC Online

BC Online is a web-based service (www.bconline.gov.bc.ca) that offers access to the following public databases:

  • BC Assessment Authority (BCAA) – information about real property and property assessments.
  • Corporate Registry – information about registered companies, firms and societies.
  • Manufactured Home Registry (MHR) – information about mobile home ownership.
  • Personal Property Registry (PPR) – charges, liens, security interest, and encumbrances filed against personal property (chattels).

A fee is charged to the ministry for each search completed.

[For BC Assessment and Personal Property training material for staff, see Additional Resources.]
 

  • Equifax Canada

Equifax Canada is a private company that gathers, records and sells consumer and commercial credit information through a web based service. 

An Equifax report provides information on loans, mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, employment, residency and marital status.  Equifax does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.  All information must be verified with the client. Use this information as an indicator or investigative tool in assisting with eligibility determination.

The ministry’s Equifax searches are 'masked' and therefore, do not display as inquiries on the client's Equifax report when it is searched by another third party.  The intention of this masking is to prevent unintentional disclosure that a client is in receipt of assistance to other organizations searching the client's Equifax report.

If a client requests a copy of their own Equifax report, direct them to Equifax to obtain a copy of their own credit records.  When clients access their own consumer report, all inquiries are listed, including the ministry.

All Equifax reports received, including “No-Hit” reports, must be attached to the relevant Service Request related to the inquiry (e.g. Application, Eligibility Review, or PLMS Review).
 

  • Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)

ICBC maintains vehicle license plate and vehicle registration histories.  These records display active and historical vehicle license plates associated with a specified driver's license.  It is also possible to enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm the registered vehicle owner's name.
 

Access and Use of ICBC Information:
 

  • Checks must be conducted solely for the purpose of determining eligibility for assistance.
  • Compare the information on vehicle registration documentation provided by the client with information held by ICBC.

Discuss inconsistencies or new information with the client
 

  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

The ministry has an Information Sharing Agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Clients sign a separate consent to allow Canada Revenue Agency to release information relating to eligibility for assistance.  The signed consent is valid for the year of signature, two calendar years prior to the year of signature and all subsequent consecutive years that the client continues to receive assistance.      

Ministry staff must check each file to ensure a valid signed consent is in place and review the specific timeframe of the consent before accessing taxpayer information.  Verbal consent obtained prior to receiving a signed Application for Assistance - Consent (Part 1 HR0080B), is not sufficient for staff to query tax information. 

Taxpayer information is available in ICM on the contact’s Tax Request tab. The information should not be printed.

Ministry staff analyze the taxpayer information to verify income and assets at the application interview, compliance review, or at an eligibility review.

Effective: June 15, 2015

Staff may require additional information or documentation to assess eligibility for assistance.  The following outlines circumstances when third party verification may be required and information sources that may be used to verify. 

Outstanding Warrants

Ministry staff will need to confirm whether an applicant has an outstanding arrest warrant if:
 

  • applicant discloses they have an outstanding warrant;
  • applicant is unsure if they are subject to a warrant;
  • ministry is made aware of the possible existence of a warrant; or
  • at the Minister’s discretion.

[For more information on how to verify outstanding warrants, see Related Links – Warrants Procedures.]

Documentation / Identification
 

  • Required identification for the client and/or family unit is lacking; no photocopies or scanned copies of identification are on the file/case from a previous application and ministry staff is unable to verify the client’s identity.
  • The client does not have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and is not a refugee claimant.
  • Identification documents appear altered, forged, invalid, or inconsistent with the information provided.
  • Documentation reflecting the client’s situation is lacking, or the information provided is inconsistent.

Information sources to confirm identification:
 

  • ID Guide
  • BC Online
  • Employer records
  • Canada Revenue Agency (e.g., SIN may be verified on the Notice of Assessment)
  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • Client Identification Process (CIP)

[For identification requirements, see Related Links –BC Employment and Assistance Application Stage 2 – Eligibility Interview – Procedures – Documents Required for Eligibility Interview.]

[For information on CIP, see Related Links – Identification Requirements – Procedures – Establishing Proof of Identity.]

[For information regarding valid birth certificate documentation, see Additional Resources  – Vital Statistics Agency.]

WebAOBlink

Ministry staff no longer have to ask applicants or clients to attend a Service Canada office to obtain proof of their status.  Ministry workers must not make a WebAOBlink query until they have the applicant’s Social Insurance Number (SIN) and a signed or verbal consent. 

The WebAOBlink is a web-based application supplied by Service Canada that allows ministry staff to directly access selected client information from the federal Employment Insurance database.  It is a secure and encrypted systems application, with access restricted to designated users in ministry offices. 

Service Canada Identification Guide

The Identification Guide produced and maintained by Service Canada contains sample copies of authentic documents from all of the provinces and territories.  The guide includes Birth Certificates, Motor Vehicle Operator’s Licenses, Immigration Documents, Health Care Cards, Firearms Acquisition Certificates (FAC) and Sample Social Security Cards.  Every Employment Assistance Office has a copy of the Identification Guide.

Note:   Staff who receive allegations or have suspicions of “personation” or “duplicate identification” must immediately contact the local PLMS office and speak to a ministry investigator prior to taking any further action.  Staff should not discuss or approach the client with respect to this concern. 

[see Related Links – Referral for PLMS Review or Investigation]

Accommodations and Living Arrangements
 

  • The client’s mailing address is different than the street address without a reasonable explanation.
  • The client is recently separated from his or her spouse with a history of repeated separation and reconciliation, or the client has provided contradictory information regarding the whereabouts of the ex-spouse.
  • The client’s current roommate was formerly declared as a spouse.  [For detailed information on spousal and dependency, see Related Links – Family Composition – Procedures – Dependency Relationship Assessment Guide.]
  • The client’s family composition is different from a previous application without a reasonable explanation.
  • The Postal Code List indicates that other people who are not identified on the application form are living in the household.
  • The client has changed residence but has the same landlord.
  • The client is unable to provide shelter receipts (rent receipts, mortgage, taxes, etc.) or receipts appear to be suspect.

Information sources to confirm living arrangements:
 

  • BC Assessment Authority
  • Residency Verification
  • Landlord
  • Utility company records
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • City reverse directories
  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)

[For Spousal and Dependency, see Related Links – Family Composition.]

[For Residency Verification, see Related Links – Individual Case Management – Policy.]

No Bank Accounts
 

  • Applicant declares no bank account where it seems likely that the applicant would have a bank account.
  • Other information points to the existence of a bank account (Payroll by EFT, Autoplan for ICBC payments)   
  • Applicant who reports no bank account currently but has reported one previously.
  • Bank account closed just prior to application for assistance.
  • Applicant had joint account previously.

Information sources used to confirm bank accounts:
 

  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • BC Online – Personal Property Registry
  • Banks (bank profile) and Trust Companies
  • Bank information on the case

Status in Canada / Sponsorship
 

  • The client is living in Canada under a current sponsorship agreement.
  • The client is unable to provide proof of immigration status or immigration status is unclear.
  • Immigration documents are expired or appear to be altered.
  • Immigration documents are unfamiliar.

Information sources to confirm immigration status:
 

  • FASB Sponsorship [see Contacts]
  • Reported Sponsors

[see Related Links – Citizenship Requirements]

[see Related Links – Sponsorship Undertaking Default ]

Income / Assets
 

  • Information or documentation is lacking on the value of assets:  vehicles, investments (for example, Registered Retirement Savings Plans), trust funds, or other assets.
  • Information or documentation is lacking relating to the disposal of assets in the last two years, or the case was previously closed due to excess assets and the assets are no longer declared.
  • The client’s banking records show unusual banking activity (for example, the client is unable to explain deposits), or the client has no bank account.
  • The client’s banking records show no evidence of expenses paid (for example, a rent receipt for $500 is submitted but the bank shows no withdrawal consistent with rent payments, or all funds were spent on other expenses and insufficient money remains to have paid $500 rent)
  • The client’s expenses are higher than income with no reasonable explanation (for example, unusually high shelter costs).
  • Information or documentation is lacking relating to the source of income.
  • The client may be eligible for another income support program (for example, WorkSafe BC, CPP, OAS, EI and pensions from other countries).

Information sources used to confirm income:
 

  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • EI records (WebAOBlink)
  • Landlord
  • Employer
  • Banks (bank profile) and Trust Companies
  • BC Online Companies Search
  • Municipal business license

[see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions]

Information sources used to confirm assets
 

  • BC Online – Personal Property Registry
  • Residence Verification
  • Banks, Trust Companies, if known
  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • Canada Revenue Agency

[see Related Links – Assets and Exemptions]

Self Employment
 

  • The applicant is the owner of a small business or is a self-employed person and does not have business statements.
  • Applicant has not accounted for a business which was sold recently or business assets.
  • If applicant has previously operated a business.

Information sources used to confirm self employment:
 

  • BC Online – Personal Property Registry and Companies Search
  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Internet
  • Banks, Trust Companies, if known
  • Vehicles (for business or recreational vehicles)

Out of Province / On Reserve
 

  • Applicant has been in receipt of assistance in another province or jurisdiction or history of moving from province to province.
  • Applicant recently moved off reserve or frequently moves on or off reserve. 

Information sources used to confirm Out of Province/On Reserve:
 

  • BC Online – Address Verification
  • Social Service Office for province or band
  • Consumer Credit Report (Equifax)
  • Banks
  • Ministry of Health (MSP cancelled if out of province)