BC Employment & Assistance Policy & Procedure Manual

Welcome to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Policy and Procedure Manual.

The BCEA Policy and Procedure Manual is a one-stop source for all BCEA policy, procedure and program information.

BCEA policy and procedure information is organized by Category. Each Category has a set of Policy Topics. To view an expanded list of available Policy Topics, click on the appropriate Category.

Topics provide related content such as an overview, policies, procedures, and links to relevant acts, regulations, contacts, rate tables and resources.

For more information on how to use the BCEA Policy and Procedure Manual, please visit our Navigation & Search Tips page.


What's New

Effective: November 4, 2019


Hardship Assistance

The Sixties Scoop and Federal Indian Day Schools Settlement Agreements are exempt as income and an asset for the purposes of determining eligibility for income assistance, disability assistance, and hardship assistance.

Effective: October 1, 2019

Support & Shelter

The daily user charge for Mental Health and Substance Use facilities increased, effective October 1, 2019.  

The new rates are:

  • $45.00 for Licensed Substance Use and Licensed Mental Health facilities
  • $35.90 for Registered Substance Use, Registered Mental Health, Provincial Mental Health and Mental Health Family Care Home facilities.

The Cheque Issue Schedule and Cut-off Dates has been updated in Additional Resources for 2020.

Effective: July 1, 2019

General Supplement & Programs

Recipients of income assistance, disability assistance and hardship assistance are eligible for the Identification Supplement when the identification is required to determine eligibility for assistance and to enable clients to access services in British Columbia or for a similar purpose in British Columbia. 

The criteria for all moves within BC has expanded to include moves anywhere in BC rather than being restricted to moves to within a municipality or unincorporated area or to an adjacent municipality or unincorporated area. Clients may now be eligible for a moving supplement when they are compelled to leave their rented accommodation for a broader range of reasons. Although obtaining prior approval for incurring moving costs is required when possible, clients may be eligible for the moving supplement when the ministry concurs that exceptional circumstances exist which justify not obtaining pre-approval. More than one cost estimate is only needed if the ministry requires it to determine the appropriateness of the first estimate provided.

Case Administration

Examples were added to clarify moving supplement policy as it applies to persons who are moving to flee abuse.

Support & Shelter

This policy has been updated to allow clients paying room and board to their parent or adult child to receive the smaller of

  • the actual cost of room and board (plus a specified monthly support allowance) or
  • the sum of the applicable shelter and support allowances for the family unit size.


This policy has been updated to:

  • Fully exempt as an asset the primary vehicle for applicants and recipients of income assistance, and
  • Increase the asset limits for applicants and recipients of income assistance from $2,000 to $5,000 for a single person and from $4,000 to $10,000 for couples, and one or two parent families.

Employment Programs, Planning & Exemptions

Policy and Procedures have been changed to update the eligibility criteria for the Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers category.  

Policy has been clarified in response to PPMB eligibility criteria changes.

  • Employability Screen
  • Client Employability Profile

These topics will be archived as the Employability Screen and Client Employability Profile are being retired.

Case Administration

Policy has been updated to reflect retirement of the Client Employability Profile and Employability Screen.

Application & Intake

Hardship Assistance

Policy has been updated to remove the requirement for new applicants to complete a five-week work search.

All former recipients and new applicants will be required to complete a three-week work search, unless they meet one of the exemption criteria.   

Health Supplements & Programs

These changes provide the authority for Registered Dietitians to submit documentation for all diet supplements, short tern nutritional supplements, infant formula and complete the Monthly Nutritional Supplement Application form.


Support & Shelter

General Supplements & Programs

These topics have been updated to reflect the removal of the 'transient' category from policy.

Effective: June 4, 2019

Application & Intake

Clarification has been added for the requirement for a picture that shows the current appearance of the applicant, and the requirement to provide a Social Insurance Number (SIN) versus confirmation of SIN to validate consent.

Effective: April 1, 2019

Rate Tables

Income assistance, disability assistance and hardship assistance support rates have been increased $50 for a single person or for a single parent family and $100 for a couple or a two parent family.

OIC #079 (B.C. Reg. 32/2019)  amended the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Compliance & Debt Management

Changes have been made to support consistent and reliable service.  Topic was updated to incorporate:

  • Plain language
  • Specification of the duty to accommodate policy and how it applies to reviews
  • Information request timelines
  • Simplified review procedures.

Effective: February 27, 2019

Case Administration

General Supplements & Programs

Upcoming policy changes for T5007 tax slip reporting include:

  • Seniors Supplement T5007 tax slip reporting 
  • Bus Pass for low income seniors (effective for subject tax year 2018)

Effective: February 11, 2019


Hardship Assistance

The Memorial Grant Program for First Responders is exempt as income and an asset for the purposes of determining eligibility for income assistance, disability assistance, and hardship assistance.

OIC #047 (B.C. Reg. 19/2019)  amended the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Effective: February 5, 2019

Health Supplements & Programs

A new topic has been created for breathing devices for easier access to this information. As well, there are now contracted suppliers for CPAP devices.

Effective: February 1, 2019

Case Administration

Changes have been made to referring recipients to Third Party Administration (TPA), providing services to recipients while they are third partied and returning recipients from TPA.

Compliance & Debt Management

When a client has an overpayment for ministry error, they may have an estoppel defence. If an estoppel defence is confirmed recovery of the overpayment is resolved.

This policy update explains the criteria for staff to determine if a client may have an estoppel defence for a ministry error overpayment.

Effective: December 1, 2018

General Supplements & Programs

Policy has been changed to increase the monthly limit on the Crisis Supplement for Food from $20 to $40 per person.

To ensure that recipients can receive the additional amount, policy has been changed to adjust the overall annual limit for crisis supplements.