Citizenship Requirements

Overview

To be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance, applicants must meet citizenship requirements.

The citizenship requirements apply to applicants under the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Policy

Effective:  October 29, 2013

For a family unit to be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance, one of the following requirements must be met:
 

  • each applicant in the family unit is one of the following:
  • a Canadian citizen
  • a permanent resident
  • a protected person (Convention refugee or person in need of protection)
  • in Canada on a Temporary Resident Permit
  • has applied for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence [see Policy-Applications for a Temporary Resident Permit as a Victim of Family Violence]
  • a refugee claimant/person applying for protection [see Policy – Refugee Claimants or Persons Applying for Protection]
  • under a removal order that has been stayed or cannot be executed; for example, the person’s home country no longer exists making it impossible for the person to return, or the person cannot obtain travel documents. This status should be verified through FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts]. Removal orders are not considered executable until the date of deportation.
  • a dependent child

In general, the citizenship status of a dependent child does not affect the family unit’s eligibility.

Effective:  October 1, 2012

The Policy and Program Implementation Manager (PPIM) is responsible for determining whether a family unit qualifies for an exemption from citizenship requirements [see Authorities and Responsibilities].

Sole applicant or recipient family units may be exempt from citizenship requirements in certain circumstances. To qualify for the exemption, the sole applicant or recipient family unit must meet all of the following criteria:
 

  • the applicant or recipient has one or more dependent children who are Canadian citizens;
  • the applicant or recipient has separated from an abusive spouse;
  • the applicant or recipient has applied for status as a permanent resident under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada);
  • the applicant or recipient cannot readily leave British Columbia with the dependent children because:
    • a court order, agreement or other arrangement with respect to one or more of the dependent children provides custody, guardianship or access rights to another person who resides in British Columbia and leaving British Columbia with the dependent children would likely contravene the provisions of the court order, agreement or other arrangement,
    • another person who resides in British Columbia is claiming custody, guardianship or access rights with respect to one or more of the dependent children and the person’s claims have not yet been resolved, or
    • the applicant or recipient, or a dependent child of the applicant or recipient, is being treated for a medical condition and leaving British Columbia would result in imminent danger to the physical health of the applicant, recipient or dependent child.

Provided that all other eligibility criteria are met, families that qualify for this exemption are to be provided with income assistance or disability assistance on account of the applicant and any dependent children in the family unit, regardless of the citizenship status of the children [see Related Links – Support, Shelter and Special Care Facilities – Policy].

If a family unit qualifies for an exemption from citizenship requirements, their circumstances must be reviewed every 6 months to determine if the exemption still applies [see Procedures – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements].

Effective:  October 29, 2013

In assessing criteria for an exemption from citizenship requirements, the Policy and Program Implementation Manager (PPIM) must consider the following guidelines:

Criterion Guideline

The applicant or recipient has one or more dependent children who are Canadian citizens.

The applicant or recipient should provide evidence that confirms that at least one child in the family unit is a Canadian Citizen (e.g., birth certificate, passport).[For more information on establishing and verifying proof of identity, see Related Links – Identification Requirements.]

The applicant or recipient has separated from an abusive spouse.

The abuse experienced by the applicant or recipient may be one or more types of family violence defined in the Family Law Act. Family violence includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and emotional abuse.

Psychological or emotional abuse includes:

  • intimidation, harassment, coercion or threats, including threats respecting other persons, pets or property
  • unreasonable restrictions on, or prevention of, a family member's financial or personal autonomy
  • stalking or following of the family member, and
  • intentional damage to property

Where a child is involved, family violence includes direct or indirect exposure to family violence.

If the applicant or recipient has applied for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence, refer to Policy- Applications for a Temporary Resident Permits as a Victim of Family Violence.

For additional information, see Related Links- Persons Fleeing Abuse.

The applicant or recipient has applied for status as a permanent resident under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada). The applicant or recipient should provide evidence that demonstrates that they have applied for permanent resident status (e.g., proof of application fee payment). If documentation is not available, written confirmation from the applicant’s lawyer or advocate is sufficient proof to determine eligibility. Can also be verified by the ministry’s FASB -Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts].

The applicant or recipient cannot readily leave British Columbia with the dependent children for one or more of the following reasons:

  • A court order, agreement or other arrangement with respect to one or more of the dependent children provides custody, guardianship or access rights to another person who resides in British Columbia, and leaving British Columbia with the dependent children would likely contravene the provisions of the court order, agreement or other arrangement.
  • Another person who resides in British Columbia is claiming custody, guardianship or access rights with respect to one or more of the dependent children and the person’s claims have not yet been resolved, or
  • The applicant or recipient, or a dependent child of the applicant or recipient, is being treated for a medical condition and leaving British Columbia would result in imminent danger to the physical health of the applicant, recipient or dependent child.

With regard to custody, the PPIM determines whether this criterion has been met by examining the available evidence, which includes information provided by the applicant, their lawyer, or advocate. Examples of evidence include court orders, private agreements or proof of other arrangements. If documentation is not available, verbal confirmation from the applicant’s lawyer or advocate is sufficient proof to determine eligibility.

A medical practitioner or other prescribed professional should provide evidence to help determine whether leaving British Columbia would result in imminent danger to the physical health to a member of the family unit.

Effective:  December 13, 2019

Refugee claimants or persons applying for protection include persons who:

  • have made a claim for refugee protection and are awaiting to have their initial eligibility interview with a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) representative.
  • have applied for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence [see Policy-Applications for a Temporary Resident Permit as a Victim of Family Violence].
  • have made a claim for refugee protection with the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and are awaiting their hearing.
  • have been denied protected person status by the IRB (Convention refugee and person in need of protection) and are appealing.
  • are eligible for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) by IRCC or are applying for judicial review by the Federal Court of Canada. This includes:
    • PRRA applicants who have exhausted appeals for refugee protection through IRB
    • Refugee claimants whose claim was refused, withdrawn, or abandoned, and
    • Refugee claimants who are inadmissible for referral to the IRB but may still qualify for protection through PRRA or the judicial review by the Federal Court of Canada
  • are subject to a removal order issued by IRCC when the order has been stayed or cannot be executed (i.e. no travel documents). Removal orders are not considered executable until the date of deportation.

Applicants who are refugee claimants or persons applying for protection, Temporary Resident Permit holders, and persons under a removal order that cannot be executed must provide an Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview (AOC) form or the IMM1442 immigration document that specifies they are in Canada under these categories when applying for income assistance and disability assistance.  The ministry recognizes the AOC or the IMM1442 document as primary identification and as the sole piece of identification required from this client group while waiting to receive secondary identification. [see Identification Requirements - Exceptions]. This status should be verified with FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts].

Refugee claimants or persons applying for protection are exempt from Social Insurance Number (SIN) requirements when determining eligibility for income assistance or disability assistance [see Policy- Exemptions from SIN Requirements].

Effective: May 26, 2020

Those who have applied for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence [see additional resources- Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) for Victims of Family Violence] must provide documentation of their application and have it verified by FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts for Staff]. Documentation must be verified by FASB before assistance is issued. Examples of documentation may include but are not limited to: confirmation letters from an advocate, lawyer, or immigration consultant, or a copy of a completed TRP application form. The ministry recognizes an application under these circumstances [see Related Links- Persons Fleeing Abuse] as sufficient for meeting citizenship requirements until the assessment of their application for a TRP has been completed. To ensure continued eligibility, the client’s immigration status should be updated once their application for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence is approved.  The status of the application should be reviewed regularly [contact FASB- Verification of Immigration Status].  

Effective: May 26, 2020

The following applicants and recipients are exempt from meeting the Social Insurance Number (SIN) requirement when determining eligibility for income assistance or disability assistance:
 

  • Refugee claimants or persons applying for protection [see Policy- Refugee Claimants or Persons Applying for Protection]
  • Temporary Resident Permit holders
  • Those who have applied for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence [see Policy- Applications for a Temporary Resident Permit as a Victim of Family Violence]
  • Those who qualify for an exemption from citizenship requirements
  • Those with permanent resident status waiting to receive a Social Insurance Number.

Effective:  October 29, 2013

The entire family unit is ineligible for income assistance or disability assistance where all adults in a family unit are:
 

  • visitors, foreign students, and temporary workers who do not have a Temporary Resident Permit (unless an application for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence has been made.  See Policy- Applications for a Temporary Resident Permit as a Victim of Family Violence).
  • persons in Canada illegally
  • persons whose immigration status has not been confirmed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • persons who are subject to removal order that is in force and can be executed. (This status should be verified by FASB - Verification of Immigration Status) [see Contacts]. These removal orders are only considered in force and executable on the date of deportation.

Note: this policy does not apply to a family unit that qualifies for an exemption. [see Policy – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements]

Effective:  October 1, 2012

In a family unit where only one applicant meets the citizenship requirements for income assistance, hardship assistance, or disability assistance, and the other applicant does not, assistance may only be issued for the family member who meets the citizenship requirements.  However, the ineligible member’s income and assets must be included in the income and assets of the family unit for the purposes of determining whether the family unit is eligible for assistance. For more information, see Procedure: Assessing Eligibility for Family Units with an Ineligible Family Member.

Case Example

A two-parent family with two children applies for income assistance.  The father is a permanent resident.  The mother and children do not have status in Canada. 

If all eligibility criteria are met, except the mother does not meet the citizenship requirements, the family unit is eligible for income assistance.  The dependent children would be considered to have their father’s permanent residence status.

Issue income assistance based on a family unit size of three.  Both adults are required to complete and sign the Monthly Report (HR0081) each month.

Note: this policy does not apply to a family unit that qualifies for an exemption. [see Policy – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements]

 

Procedures

Effective:  December 13, 2019

To prove their status in Canada, clients must provide one of the following:
 

  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM5292/IMM5688) or Permanent Resident Card or prior to June 28, 2002: Record of Landing (IMM1000) [Additional Resources – Canadian Documents]
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate (including certificates issued prior to February 1, 2012)
  • Canadian passport
  • Temporary Resident Permit ** (IMM1442)   
  • documentation of claim for refugee protection with the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) (IMM 1442) [see Identification Requirements-Proof of Identity]. This status should be verified by FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts]
  • Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview (AOC) form from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [see Additional Resources]. This status should be verified with FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts]
  • documentation of claim with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)
  • documentation from Federal Court of Canada to place the client’s removal order on hold until it decides whether to review the PRRA’s decision.
  • documentation of stay of removal order issued by IRCC
  • documentation of protected person status (Convention refugee or person in need of protection)
  • documentation proving an application has been made for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence. This must be verified by FASB- Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts].

A person that is subject to a removal order that has been stayed or cannot be executed may not have any documents. This status should be verified with FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts].

The status of protected persons who are not landed must be reviewed at least annually to determine if they have been granted permanent resident status (landed).  When they have landed, a copy of the IMM5292/IMM5688 and Permanent Resident Card (prior to June 28, 2002: IMM1000) will be required and the immigration category code updated.

Note: A Social Insurance Number alone is not proof of a person’s status in Canada, it only verifies a person is authorized to work in Canada. If there are concerns or questions about a person’s status in Canada please verify the client information [see Procedures – Verifying Client Information].

It is mandatory to verify all client information prior to determining eligibility.

First Nations people should not automatically be deemed to have permanent residency in Canada.  Although they may possess a Canadian Native Status Card, only those cards issued by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in Ottawa confer official status in Canada.  If the status card was issued by a local band office, the applicant should be asked to provide official evidence of legal status in Canada (for example, for IRCC or ISC).  All other identification requirements apply.

After receiving proof of residency, copies of all IRCC immigration documents are to be scanned to the case.

** Special attention is required to read IMM1442 form.  IRCC uses the same form – IMM 1442 for different purposes, including claim for refugee protection, Temporary Resident Permit (Minister’s Permit), Study Permit, Visitor Visa, Work Permit, etc.  Income assistance or disability assistance is provided to applicants whose IMM1442 is issued as a Refugee Protection Claimant, or Temporary Resident Permit class, which is clearly labelled in the header of the form. The status of clients with the IMM1442 should be verified with FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts].

Effective:  December 13, 2019

Verification should be conducted in the following circumstances:
 

  • applicant is living in Canada under a current sponsorship agreement
  • applicant presenting the IMM1442 Refugee Protection Claimant document. (EAW to obtain confirmation from FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts] that the applicant has not been excluded from making a refugee claim, or that their claim has not already been denied)
  • applicant is presenting the Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview (AOC) form. (EAW to obtain confirmation from FASB - Verification of Immigration Status that the applicant has not already had their initial eligibility interview with a CBSA or IRCC representative
  • applicant is a Temporary Resident Permit holder
  • applicant is unable to provide proof of immigration status or immigration status is unclear (e.g., unable to determine if the applicant’s removal order is in effect)
  • applicant provides documentation of their application for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence. EAW is to obtain confirmation from FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts] that the applicant has applied for the permit under these circumstances. The status of the application for the Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence must be reviewed regularly.  Once the application has been approved, the client’s immigration status should be updated
  • immigration documents are expired or appear to be altered
  • immigration documents are unfamiliar to the Employment and Assistance Worker

Note:  Applicants who are assessed for the exemption from citizenship requirements and who have indicated that they have applied for status as a permanent resident under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), should provide evidence that they have applied for permanent residence status.  Examples include: proof of application fee payment, confirmation from FASB - Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts] or written confirmation from the applicant’s lawyer or advocate. 

[For more information on assessing criteria for an exemption from citizenship requirements, see Policy – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements – Assessment Guidelines.]

[For further information on steps to follow for those applicants or recipients who qualify for the exemption from citizenship requirements, see Procedures – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements.]

Effective:  October 1, 2012

Provided that all other eligibility criteria are met, families that qualify for this exemption are to be provided with income assistance or disability assistance on account of the applicant and any dependent children in the family unit, regardless of the citizenship status of the children [see Related Links – Support, Shelter and Special Care Facilities – Policy].

If a sole applicant parent with a dependent child does not have citizenship status, staff follow these steps to determine if the family unit may qualify for an exemption from citizenship requirements [see Policy – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements]. 
 

  1. Staff update the Contact’s Immigration Status (Persons without Status – PWS) on the system. 
     
  2. Staff follow the process for Manager Approval. 

Note:  The Manager is responsible for determining whether a family unit qualifies for an exemption from citizenship requirements [see Authorities and Responsibilities]. 
 

  1. In assessing criteria for an exemption from citizenship requirements, the Manager should consider the assessment guidelines [see Policy – Exemption from Citizenship Requirements – Assessment Guidelines].
     
  2. If the Manager found the family unit qualifies for an exemption from citizenship requirements, their circumstances must be reviewed every 6 months to determine if the exemption still applies.
     
  3. Manager approves exemption from citizenship requirements, and refers back to the worker to complete eligibility.
     
  4. Staff set notification activity to review the case in six months. 
     
  5. If there are any changes in circumstance such as obtaining status in Canada or if a child is removed from the case, staff update the immigration code.  Note that this is a manual process that staff will conduct when a client obtains status. 
     
  6. Use the two Close Reason Codes when the exemption from citizenship requirements no longer apply:
    1. Person without status no longer fleeing abuse
    2. Person without status no longer has Canadian child on file. 

Effective:  December 13, 2019

The following tables summarize the types of assistance that should be considered based on the citizenship status of each applicant in the family unit.

Applicants who are refugee claimants or persons applying for protection or Temporary Resident Permit holders must provide immigration document IMM1442 or an Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview (AOC) form that specifies they are in Canada under these categories when applying for income assistance and disability assistance.  The status of clients with the IMM1442 or AOC should be verified with FASB- Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts]. The ministry recognizes the IMM1442 document or AOC as primary identification and as the sole piece of identification required from this client group while waiting to receive secondary identification [see Related Links – Identification Requirements - Policy - Exceptions].

Applicants for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence must provide documentation of their application for the permit to satisfy citizenship requirements. This documentation must be verified by FASB- Verification of Immigration Status [see Contacts]. [See Policy- Application for a Temporary Resident Permit as a Victim of Family Violence]. These applicants must still meet standard identification requirements to be eligible for income assistance and disability assistance, however, they are exempt from meeting the SIN requirement [see Related Links – Identification Requirements].

Refugee claimants or persons applying for protection, Temporary Resident Permit holders, applicants for a Temporary Resident Permit as a victim of family violence, and those with permanent resident status waiting to receive a Social Insurance Number (SIN) are exempt from meeting the SIN requirement when determining eligibility for income assistance or disability assistance.

Applicants and clients are required to pursue a SIN and secondary identification when eligible.

Table: Citizenship Status and Type of Assistance

Category of Each Adult

Category A

  • Citizen
  • Permanent resident
  • Protected person (Convention refugee or person in need of protection)
  • Person with a Temporary Resident Permit
  • Applicants for a Temporary resident permit as a victim of family violence
  • Refugee claimants or persons applying for protection
Person under a removal order that has been stayed or cannot be executed (i.e. without travel documents) Applicants or recipients who qualify for an exemption from citizenship requirements

Category B

  • Visitor Visa holders
  • Study Permit holders Work Permit holders  without a Temporary Resident Permit or Refugee Protection Claimant document
  • persons in Canada illegally
persons whose immigration status has not been confirmed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Family Unit Eligible for Regular Assistance Eligible  
Family Unit is Not Eligible for Assistance   Not Eligible

Effective:  July 18, 2008 

For a family unit with two applicants, one of whom does not meet the citizenship requirements, follow these steps:
 

  1. Complete an Employment and Assistance Application (HR0080) [see Forms and Letters], listing both adults.
  2. Run the Assisted Eligibility tool using the income and assets of both adults to determine eligibility for assistance.
  3. Calculate and issue assistance based on the eligible family members.
  4. Open the case and remove the ineligible contact. Income & assets from the ineligible contact will need to be manually added to the primary applicant.
  5. Have both recipients complete and sign the Monthly Report (HR0081) [see Forms and Letters] each month, when continuing assistance is requested.

An example:
If the family unit has two parents and two children, and one of the parents is a visitor or a foreign student the following would apply:
 

  • visitors and foreign students are ineligible for assistance
  • the income and asset levels would be considered as a unit 4 family (two parents/two children)
  • the ineligible spouse would be removed from the case and the rest of the family would be issued using the support and shelter rates for a unit 3 family (one parent/two children)
  • the ineligible spouse’s income and assets would continue to be considered every time the case is reviewed. They will need to be manually added as records on the key player
  • the Monthly Report (HR0081) would be completed and signed by the eligible adult and the excluded family member

Anytime the family unit changes, eligibility must be reassessed and all criteria must be met, including the citizenship requirements.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective:  October 1, 2012

Position Authority

Employment and Assistance Worker (EAW)

Determining whether a family unit meets citizenship requirements.

Identifying family units which may qualify for an exemption from citizenship requirements.

Policy and Program Implementation Manager (PPIM) Determining whether a family unit qualifies for an exemption from citizenship requirements.