Non-Ministry Funded Employment Programs & Services
Several non-ministry funded employment programs and services may be available to clients eligible for BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA). This topic summarizes major programs and services currently offered through federal and provincial government partners.
The B.C. Government administers employment programs and services through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement (CJFA), as well as programming for older workers and immigrants. This includes the BladeRunners program for youth. BCEA clients are eligible to access CJFA programming [for more information, see Additional Resources].
The federal government also funds employment programming under the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS), the Opportunities Fund, and the Youth Employment Strategy.
Effective: January 11, 2021
Clients with employment obligations will be identified by the ministry through the ICM system for formal referral to WorkBC Employment Services (ES). Clients who are not formally referred to WorkBC ES can be encouraged to access self-serve services. While non-referred clients, unless temporarily exempt from the requirement to enter into an Employment Plan (EP), will generally be given an EP for Supervised Independent Work Search (SIWS), they may be referred to other non-ministry programs as appropriate [see Related Links – WorkBC Employment Services and Employment Plan – Policy – Temporarily Exempting or Suspending an Employment Plan].
Participation in non-ministry employment programs by clients receiving provincial assistance should be documented on either an Employment Plan (HR2863) or a Voluntary Participation Plan (HR SD2916). [For more information, see Related Links – Employment Plan, or Voluntary Participation Plan.]
Ministry approval for program participation is not required if a client’s participation in a part-time unfunded program of study does not affect the conditions of their EP or their employment-related obligations (i.e. participation in WorkBC ES). For example, a client could participate in a part-time evening or weekend course without affecting their employment obligations.
Ministry approval is required for participation in a full-time unfunded program or a part-time program that may affect the conditions of a client’s EP or their employment-related obligations.
For Employment Plan (HR 2863) or Voluntary participation Plan (HR 2916), see Forms and Letters.
Effective: April 2, 2012
Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA)
The Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) is an agreement between the Governments of Canada and British Columbia to streamline efforts to help unemployed British Columbians move into sustainable employment. LMDA programs are administered by the Province through the ministry’s Employment and Labour Market Services Division [for more information, see Additional Resources].
Effective April 2, 2012, LMDA programs have been incorporated into WorkBC Employment Services (ES) and no longer exist as stand-alone programs.
Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS)
Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS), previously Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement (AHRDA), is designed to help Indigenous people prepare for and find sustainable jobs. [See Additional Resources for a list of ISETS Agreement-holders.] All Indigenous people, regardless of status or location, may access ISETS programs and services, which include services similar to WorkBC ES. Clients identified for formal referral to WorkBC ES may choose whether to receive services from WorkBC ES, ISETS or both.
Where appropriate the ministry will approve Indigenous clients in the following categories to participate in a full-time or part-time unfunded non-ministry program offered by an ISETS holder: Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB), Persons with Disabilities (PWD), Expected to Work (ETW) and Expected to Work-Medical Condition (ETW-MC). This will allow clients to participate in these programs and improve their employability while being able to continue to receive assistance.
Ministry approval is not required if a client’s participation in a part-time unfunded program of study does not affect the conditions of their EP or their employment-related obligations (i.e., participation in WorkBC ES). For example, a client could participate in a part-time evening or weekend course without affecting their employment obligations.
In order to receive ministerial approval of participation in an ISETS-approved program, the Basic Criteria and Program Criteria must be met.
To receive ministerial approval, the client must:
- demonstrate that the program/intervention is part of a realistic, achievable plan that could move them toward sustainable employment
- commit to completing the program
- provide progress updates to the ministry
- receive prior approval of the ministry to participate in the program, and
- have their participation noted in the EP
To receive ministerial approval, the program must:
- focus on moving the client along the ministry’s Employment Continuum by increasing the client’s employability
- have a clear commencement and completion date
- not exceed 52 weeks in length (does not include reasonable pauses – e.g., short-term medical condition) unless ISETS agreement-holders deem necessary for a client to extend the programs.
When an ISETS-funded program is equal to WorkBC ES, or more appropriate, the ministry will refer clients to programs and interventions provided by ISETS agreement holders prior to referring to other ministry programs. The ISETS agreement holder will determine if a client can participate in their programs. In most cases the referral should be made prior to a client participating in other employment programs.
If an Indigenous PPMB, PWD, ETW or ETW-MC client participating in WorkBC ES informs WorkBC ES of their desire to enter an ISETS approved program, WorkBC ES, in consultation with the EAW, will release the client. All Indigenous clients participating in or receiving supports from ISETS approved programs retain their employment plan obligations. [For more information, see Additional Resources – List of ISETS agreement holders]
[For students attending post-secondary school, see Related Links – Education &Training, for more information]
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities is administered by Service Canada. This program funds projects that assist persons with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining, and keeping employment or becoming self-employed. To be eligible as a participant, it is not a requirement that an individual have the persons with disability designation under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act. Unemployed individuals who are legally entitled to work in Canada and who self-identify as having a disability may be eligible to participate in a project.
The fund may support an array of activities, such as encouraging employers to hire workers with disabilities, increasing the employment skills of persons with disabilities, providing work experience, and assisting individuals with starting their own business. Funds may be available to participants to assist with approved costs relating to their participation in funded projects. [For more information, see Additional Resources – Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.]
Youth Employment Strategy
Under the Youth Employment Strategy, Service Canada offers the following three programs:
- Career Focus provides funding for employers to help post-secondary graduates obtain career-related work opportunities in Canada to support their development of advanced skills, to help them make career-related links to the job market, and to assist them in becoming leaders in their field.
- Skills Link provides funding to community organizations to help youth facing barriers to employment – such as single parents, Indigenous youth, young persons with disabilities, recent immigrants, youth living in rural and remote areas and high school dropouts – to develop the broad range of skills, knowledge and work experience they need to participate in the job market.
- Canada Summer Jobs provides wage subsidies to employers to create summer employment for secondary and post-secondary students, and support the operation of summer employment offices.
Effective: April 2, 2012
Apprenticeship training in BC is administered by the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Clients interested in apprenticeships should contact the ITA for more information, or enquire at their local WorkBC Centre. [See Additional Resources – Industry Training Authority]
BladeRunners is an employment program funded under the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement that works in partnership with the B.C. Government, the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS) agreement holders, Service Canada and various industry partners.
BladeRunners assists multi-barriered and disadvantaged youth aged 19–30 to gain on-the-job construction training and apprenticeships. The BladeRunners program seeks to:
- provide meaningful work experiences that will result in long-term attachment to the workforce
- build on existing success with other community-based programs and establish partnerships with organizations that share similar goals and objectives
- provide youth with the entry level skills needed for successful employment and apprenticeship in the construction industry
Youth (ages 19 – 30) who meet the following requirements may be eligible for support through BladeRunners:
- are physically healthy and capable of trades-related labour
- have a demonstrated interest in trades and construction
- demonstrate good basic English language skills
- are free from any form of substance abuse
- have received a satisfactory assessment from a local BladeRunners coordinator
[For more information, see Additional Resources – BladeRunners.]
Effective: January 11, 2021
Clients with employment obligations will be identified through the ICM system for formal ministry referral to WorkBC Employment Services (ES). Clients who are not formally referred to WorkBC ES can be encouraged to access WorkBC self-serve services. While non-referred clients, unless temporarily exempt from the requirement to enter into an Employment Plan (EP), will generally be given an EP for Supervised Independent Work Search (SIWS), they may be referred to other non-ministry programs as appropriate, such as ISETS, BladeRunners, Adult Basic Education, etc. [see Related Links – WorkBC Employment Services and Employment Plan – Policy – Temporarily Exempting or Suspending an Employment Plan].
To refer clients to non-ministry funded employment programs available in the community, follow these steps:
- Follow locally established referral procedures for the particular program.
- Create an EP in the system for the program as appropriate.
- Ensure the client signs the EP and understands their responsibilities to comply with their EP.
- Provide a copy of the EP or Voluntary Participation Plan to the client and scan, profile and place a copy where required.
Indigenous PPMB, PWD, ETW or ETW-MC clients participating in an ISETS-approved program will need to provide the following information and/or documentation from the ISETS agreement-holder in order for ministry staff to verify involvement and progress:
- Name of ISETS agreement-holder and contact information
- Name of program
- Description and nature of program/intervention
- Program Start and End dates
- Full-or part-time hours
- Intended program outcomes
- Any allowances and wage subsides
- Other participation forms
ISETS agreement-holders may provide ministry clients with updates on their progress in an ISETS-approved program to be submitted to the EAW. Clients are responsible for providing the ministry with updates on their progress.