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: May 26, 2020

Case Administration

Application & Intake

Hardship Assistance

Employment Programs, Planning & Exemptions

“Refugee Claimant” has been changed to “Refugee Claimant or Person Applying for Protection” to align with federal terminology.

Applicants who have applied for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence are exempt from citizenship requirements while their federal application is being processed. These applicants are also exempt from SIN requirements. This allows applicants that do not meet citizenship requirements to receive the support they need when leaving instances of family violence.

Policy has been clarified that removal orders cannot be executed until the date of deportation. This ensures that applicants who are subject to removal orders issued by IRCC may meet citizenship requirements until their date of deportation.

Effective: January 1, 2020

Decisions, Reconsideration & Appeal

This change is to clarify the rules for clients submitting evidence on appeal to the Tribunal, allowing people to bring forward new evidence at an appeal hearing to support their case.

Eligibility

The policy has been updated to include a reduction of assistance, in addition to an ineligibility of assistance, consequence for recipients who are not compliant with providing the ministry information or verification of information when requested. If a family unit is not compliant with Section 10 but is experiencing homelessness or is at imminent risk of homelessness, the family must remain eligible for assistance despite that non-compliance.

Eligibility

Changes to policies and procedures are being made to reflect that applicants and clients are no longer required to receive early Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement benefits before the age of 65.

General Supplements & Programs

Increase to crisis supplement for the shelter amount.

Case Administration

Policy no longer limits the number of security deposits a recipient can receive from the ministry.  

New policy introduces a repayable pet damage deposit supplement for recipients of income assistance, hardship assistance and disability assistance. The pet damage deposit’s eligibility requirements are the same as the requirements for a security deposit: the pet damage deposit must be necessary for the family unit to rent accommodation, not exceed 50 percent of one month’s rent and the family unit must agree to repay the supplement in writing.

Support & Shelter

General Supplements & Programs

Health Supplements & Programs

Hardship Assistance

Decisions, Reconsideration & Appeal

Changes have been made to expand supports available to hardship assistance recipients.

General Supplements & Programs

Compliance & Debt Management

The ministry is updating policy for repayments of debt (Overpayments, Deposits and Offence Overpayments) that:

  • Allows the ministry to collect a set repayment amount of $10, $20 and $100 respectively. The client has the option to request to repay at a higher amount.
  • Allows the ministry to collect only one debt at a time (i.e., no stacking of debt).

Support & Shelter

Compliance & Debt Management

The following changes have been made to the ministry's definition of "spouse": 

  1. Unmarried couples can live together for 12 consecutive months before being considered spouses.
  2. Unmarried couples who declare that they are in a marriage-like relationship will be considered spouses.
  3. When married spouses separate, but are not yet divorced, they can live together in the same home and be treated as separate family units, even if they are still legally married.
  4. Adults will no longer be considered dependants of each other on the basis of demonstrating a parental role towards a child.
  5. Clarifying that children can be a dependent child of one family unit.

Case Administration

Application & Intake

Eligibility

Health Supplements & Programs

A streamlined application process is being introduced for former recipients returning to income assistance or disability assistance within six months. Eligibility for assistance may be determined, at the ministry’s discretion, with the monthly report form, rather than the two-stage application process.

Case Administration 

Application & Intake

Hardship Assistance

The 2 year financial independence requirement has been eliminated.

Health Supplements & Programs

Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums were eliminated as of January 1, 2020. Due to the elimination of premiums, MSP Premium Assistance programs were discontinued.  There is no impact to ministry clients’ MSP coverage. Eligibility criteria for the Healthy Kids Program is now based on eligibility for MSP supplementary benefits.  There is no impact to families eligible for Healthy Kids coverage as the income test for supplementary benefits is equivalent to the premium assistance income test. These topics have been updated to reflect this change.

This topic has been updated to reflect this change and to add information on medical therapies covered under MSP supplementary benefits. There is no impact to clients as a result of this change.

The income test for Life Threatening Health Needs coverage and to determine ongoing eligibility for some categories of Medical Services Only coverage will now be based on the income test used for MSP supplementary benefits, and There is no impact to applicants as the income test for supplementary benefits is equivalent to the premium assistance income test. These topics have been updated to reflect these changes.

OIC #448 (B.C. Reg. 180/2019) amended the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Support & Shelter

The Ministry of Health introduced new client rates for Community Care Residential Facilities in BC effective January 1, 2020. The monthly rate has been increased to $1,189.70 (was previously $1,162.80). There has been no increase to other per diems.