Legislative Authority

Overview

The Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and companion regulations provide the legislative authority for the BC Employment and Assistance programs.

Policy manuals set out the ministry’s intent with respect to the Act and Regulations and are guidelines. Policy is not law. Policy provides guidelines to assist staff in making decisions. Staff must, however, make decisions based on the legislation.  Where the policy and the legislation conflict, the legislation must be followed.

The Interpretation Act assists in the interpretation of provincial enactments and the Financial Administration Act governs government financial affairs.  The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act governs the conduct of the government in relation to the collection, protection, retention, and disclosure of a person’s personal information held by government.

Policy

 

Legislative Authority for BC Employment and Assistance

Effective: June 19, 2008

The BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Program is provided under the legislative authority of the following acts (or statutes) and regulations:
 

  • Employment and Assistance Act and Regulation:
    • governs the provision of income assistance, hardship assistance, and supplements to eligible persons
  • Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act and Regulation
    • governs the provision of disability assistance, hardship assistance, and supplements to eligible persons with disabilities
  • Financial Administration Act and Regulation:
    • governs allocations of public funds to ministry programs and governs the ministry’s accounting and control procedures
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Regulation:
    • governs disclosure of information and protection of privacy concerning individuals
 

Effective: December 1, 2003

Acts are law. They are the formal authority from the legislative assembly for government to perform certain tasks:
 

  • provide the authority for government to spend money
  • specify programs and services and how they will be delivered
  • define where the responsibility lies for carrying out the service requirements

An act contains the legal authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations regarding the act.  An act comes into force when it has been passed by the Legislative Assembly and has received Royal Assent or has been brought into force by regulation.

Effective: December 1, 2003

Regulations contain specific laws that serve to carry out the purposes of and expand on the general laws set out in the companion act. Regulations carry the force of law.  Cabinet, not the Legislative Assembly, passes regulations. Regulations must fall within the scope of the authority granted by the particular act.

 

Effective: December 1, 2003

Policy is not law.  Policy is set out in policy manuals which are guidelines to assist ministry staff to understand the ministry’s intent with respect to the legislation (act and regulations).

The law is the ultimate authority and takes precedence over written policy.

Procedures

Effective: December 1, 2003

The content of legislation is often divided into parts, sections, sub-sections, paragraphs, clauses and schedules (provisions). Each provision provides legal authority empowering or limiting an action. All relevant provisions in the act and regulation must be reviewed before making a decision.

Where the word "or" appears in a listing of criteria for granting or denying assistance, it means that every condition appearing before and after the word "or" can be applied on its own as a criterion; that is, the word “or” does not need to appear after each criterion.

Where the word "and" appears in a listing of criteria for granting or denying assistance, it means "as well as" and indicates that every condition appearing before and after the word "and" must be met.

Where the words "must", "shall" and "only" appear in the act or regulation, they are definitive and denote final authority.  When any of these words appear in the act or regulation, it means there is no alternative or discretion available in the applicable section or sub-section.

Where the word "may" appears in the act or regulation, it denotes discretion and is generally followed by a listing of eligibility criteria, some or all of which (as specified) must be met to support a decision to grant or deny assistance.