Education & Training

Overview

A family unit is not eligible for income assistance when an adult in the family unit is a full-time student enrolled in a funded program of studies or an unfunded program of studies without prior approval of the minister.

Full-time students are not able to meet the employment obligations and may be able to access alternative sources of funding including bursaries and student loans. 

Part-time students in a funded or unfunded program of studies may remain eligible for income assistance provided they meet other eligibility requirements, including meeting their employment obligations.

This does not apply to:

  • dependent children
  • applicants or recipients of disability assistance and their dependants
  • sole recipients in receipt of income assistance with a dependent child or caring for a supported child approved for training under the Single Parent Employment Initiative through the Employment Program of BC (EPBC).

The eligibility requirement applies to family units under the Employment and Assistance Regulations. Applicants and recipients with the Persons with Disabilities designation are not affected by this requirement, as it does not exist under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulations.

Policy

Effective:  September 1, 2015

Full-time Students:

A family unit is not eligible for income assistance when an adult in the family unit is a full-time student enrolled in one of the following:
 

  • a funded program of studies
  • an unfunded program of studies without the prior approval of the minister

The family unit becomes ineligible on the first day of the month following the month in which classes began. Ineligibility continues until the last day of the month in which exams in the relevant program of studies are held.  This also applies if a student exhausts their student loan before the term is completed.  These students can be directed to the Student Financial Aid Office at their school. 

If a student has a semester break in the summer where they cannot find work, they may be eligible for income assistance beginning the month after exams were completed if they meet all eligibility criteria, including employment obligations.

This eligibility requirement does not apply to:

  • dependent children
  • recipients of disability assistance and their dependants
  • applicants of disability assistance who already have the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation and their dependants
  • sole recipients in receipt of income assistance with dependent children or supported children approved for the Single Parent Employment Initiative through the Employment Program of BC (EPBC). Full-time training must be recorded in the Employment Plan for all income assistance recipients.

Part-time Students:

Part-time students may remain eligible for income assistance provided other eligibility requirements, including employment obligations, are met.  In these cases, the recipient’s educational goals must be outlined in the person’s Employment Plan or Voluntary Participation Plan, as required.

Funded Program of Studies

Funded program of studies include:

  • Education and/or Training that is eligible for Student Financial Assistance

[For information on how loans, grants, or allowances issued through the StudentAid BC Program affect eligibility, see Related Links – Income Treatment & Exemptions – Policy – Students’ Assistance.]

[For Aboriginal students attending approved unfunded programs, see Related Links – Non-Ministry Funded Programs for more information.]

Unfunded Program of Studies

Unfunded program of studies include:

  • high school completion
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) through the Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG)
  • those whose unfunded training is under a federal or provincial government training program (such as EPBC , through the Canada Job Fund or Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS)) 
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Developmental Programs

Full-time students who are enrolled in unfunded program of studies may remain eligible for income assistance if both of the following conditions are met:

  • they have received prior approval from the minister
  • their continued involvement is defined in their Employment Plan as approved by the minister or a Voluntary Participation Plan, if required.

Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI)

The SPEI can provide single parents up to 12 months of training for an in-demand job.  Eligibility for the program is assessed by an EPBC case manager.  The program is available to sole recipients with dependent children and sole recipients who provide care for supported children, when the family unit has been on income assistance, hardship assistance, or disability assistance for at least the last 3 consecutive calendar months (unless exceptional circumstances exist).  Once a recipient is approved by their EPBC case worker to attend training as part of SPEI, they are eligible to remain on income assistance or disability assistance during their program of study. The recipient must sign a new employment plan with the EPBC caseworker to reflect their approved participation in training.

Single parents who divide guardianship equally (50/50) with the other parent are able to participate in SPEI. Single parents who are eligible for Shared Parenting Assistance are also eligible for SPEI.

[See Related Links – Family Composition – Policy – Shared Parenting Assistance.]

Recipients who meet all other eligibility criteria may be exempt from the 3 month requirement if rare and exceptional circumstances have prevented them from being on assistance.

Examples of cases eligible for the exemption:

Case 1: A single parent who has been receiving income assistance from January to September.  The parent then fled an abusive relationship and as a result was not receiving assistance for October and November. After being determined eligible for income assistance in December, the single parent was referred to EPBC and training was determined as the best approach to employment.  In this case an exemption would be approved for the single parent to start training in January as they do not meet the 3 month criteria due to fleeing abuse.

Case 2: A single parent came on assistance in January after a separation from their spouse.  The single parent had been out of the labour market for many years.  In February, they left assistance to go to Alberta to seek medical care for a sick child.  In March the single parent returned to BC and was in receipt of income assistance.  The single parent was referred to EPBC and training was determined as the best approach to employment.  In this case, an exemption could be approved for the single parent to start school in April as they do not meet the 3 month criteria due to an urgent medical need.

Examples of cases not eligible for the exemption:

Case 1: A single parent has completed 3 years of a 4 year post-secondary degree. This person hears about the SPEI and decides to apply for income assistance. They become eligible for assistance in August and they would like to start their 4th year in September.  EPBC agrees that this program is a good fit for the client. This client is not eligible for an exemption to the three month criteria as exceptional circumstances do not exist.  The parent would be advised of other funding options including Student Financial Assistance.

Case 2: A single parent quit their job as server in January and applied for assistance.  When referred to EPBC in February, the client requests approval through SPEI to obtain training as a daycare provider.  This client is not eligible for an exemption to the 3 month criteria as exceptional circumstances do not exist.  EPBC would continue to work with this client to find employment.

Student Eligibility  to Participate in Education  & Training by Client Type

 

Expected to Work
(ETW)

No Employment Obligations
(NEO)

Persons with Disabilities (PWD)

Dependent Children in any Family Unit on Income or Disability Assistance

Part-time Unfunded Program of Studies (e.g. ESL, Adult Basic Education)

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Full-time Unfunded Program of Studies

 

Yes (with prior approval)

 

Yes (with prior approval)

 

Yes


 

Yes


 

Part-time Funded Program of Studies (e.g. any course where Student Financial Assistance is available to fund the program)

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Full-time Funded Program of Studies

 

No

Yes - if participating in SPEI

No

Yes - if participating in SPEI

Yes

 

Yes