Voluntary Participation Plan


The Voluntary Participation Plan (VPP) is a planning tool designed for those BC Employment and Assistance recipients who have no employment-related obligations.  The VPP enables ministry staff and recipients to define clear employability- or independence-related objectives and activities, such as participation in programs and services, that recipients agree to follow to move towards employment, increased employability, or increased self-reliance, commensurate with their ability.  The VPP enables recipients’ progress and outcomes to be tracked.

The VPP, as a consensual agreement, is a positive tool in advancing the ministry’s goals of:

  • assisting recipients to achieve their economic and social potential
  • providing employment and assistance to those recipients most in need
  • moving recipients toward sustainable employment 


Effective: April 2, 2012

The Voluntary Participation Plan (VPP) is a planning tool for recipients with no employment-related obligations who are participating in ministry programs and services. [For more information on recipients with no employment obligations, see Related Links – No Employment Obligations.]

The VPP outlines the activities that recipients with no employment obligations agree to follow.  These activities will assist participating recipients to prepare for employment or to increase their employability and self-reliance, commensurate with their ability.

Unlike an Employment Plan (EP), a VPP is not a legal document.  However, the client must make a commitment for it to be considered complete.  The VPP is a consensual agreement between the ministry and recipients; legal sanctions do not apply if a recipient is not able to follow through with the activities identified on the VPP.  If a recipient is not able to follow through with the VPP, the ministry may discontinue the VPP  until the recipient’s circumstances change. 

Recipients with no employment obligations are not required to have an EP.  Ministry staff determine whether recipients with no employment obligations should have a VPP based on their:

  • willingness and motivation to enter into an agreement
  • estimated ability to benefit from and use indicated services

If recipients with employment obligations experience changes in circumstance and subsequently do not have employment obligations for a period of time that exceeds three months, they  may have a VPP to document prior ministry approval to participate in a program. Ministry staff close the EP before opening a VPP, as a VPP cannot be opened if an active EP exists.  

If a recipient with no employment obligations self-refers to WorkBC Employment Services (ES) and is accepted for case management, a VPP is not required.  These recipients will sign a WorkBC ES Action Plan with the service provider instead.

Upon reaching the end date of the period of having no employment obligations, recipients with a VPP are required to enter into an EP, and are subject to its terms and conditions. [For more information, see Related Links – Employment Plan.]

In exceptional circumstances, the VPP may also be used with clients who have employment-related obligations, but are not currently required to have an EP, as determined by ministerial discretion.  Clients receiving hardship assistance who are not required to have an EP based on ministerial discretion must have a VPP in order to access non-WorkBC ES, as applicable.


Effective: April 2, 2012

A Voluntary Participation Plan (HR2916) [see Forms and Letters] must be developed collaboratively by ministry staff and recipients.  A signed VPP indicates a recipient’s agreement to participate in specified activities, consent to the release of information to and from Service Providers, and agreement to keep ministry staff informed of any changes of circumstances that may affect participation in programs and services.  It can also indicate prior ministry approval for participation in educational programs that require ministry approval.  To develop a Voluntary Participation Plan (VPP), follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the recipient understands that the VPP is an agreement to participate in specified activities and programs, and that the ministry retains the right to review the attendance and performance in such programs and to discontinue the VPP if the recipient does not participate. 

    Note: When interviewing the recipient on information related to employment, actively listen to the recipient so as to reach agreement and reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.

  2. Gather the following information about the recipient:

  • education
  • work experience
  • work search knowledge
  • current resume
  • knowledge of resources
  • knowledge of research (e.g., labour market trends and opportunities)
  • progress to date
  1. Discuss barriers that may limit the recipient’s employability and independence.

    Note: Ensure that information gathered is specific to the process of assisting the recipient to employment.
  2. Discuss the programs and services that may be available, such as WorkBC's Self-Serve Services.  Suggest additional methods or resources, if appropriate, that may move the recipient towards employment or increased employability or self-reliance, commensurate with the recipient’s ability.
  3. Determine the terms of the VPP, including all of the following:
  • program or service name
  • when the program will begin and end
  • Service Provider name and telephone number
  • the review dates, as required
  1. Outline the activities of the VPP, which should be clear, specific, realistic, time-bound and consensual, and agreed upon by the ministry and the recipient.
  2. Ensure that the goals outlined in the VPP support the recipient’s goals and are appropriate for the short term, and that the activities are commensurate with the recipient’s abilities
  3. Print a copy of the VPP activities for the recipient.  To print, select all required Activities, click on Menu in the SR applet, and hit Print.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective: April 2, 2012

Ministry staff are responsible for:

  • developing Voluntary Participation Plan (VPP) activities with recipients

WorkBC is responsible for:

  • reporting information on recipients’  outcomes to ministry staff, and informing the ministry of any change in recipients’ financial circumstances that may affect  BCEA eligibility

Recipients are responsible for:

  • participating in the activities documented in their VPP within the specified time frame and to the best of their ability
  • providing a copy of their VPP to Service Providers, as required

Frequently Asked Questions


Question   Do recipients with no employment-related obligations (NEO) need a Voluntary Participation Plan (VPP)?

Answer     A VPP is a consensual agreement between the ministry and a recipient.  To determine if recipients with NEO status may participate in a VPP, staff must determine if the recipient would benefit from having a VPP and choose to participate in the development of the VPP.  A VPP  may also be used to document prior ministry approval to participate in programs for which approval is required.


Question   Is the VPP intended for use by recipients who have no employment obligations when they participate in all employment programs?

Answer   In most cases, recipients with no employment obligations or persons with a PWD designation, will not complete an Employment Plan (EP).  Neither an EP nor a VPP is required for NEO or PWD recipients who self-refer to WorkBC Employment Services (ES) and are accepted for case management.  These clients will sign a WorkBC ES Action Plan with WorkBC.


Question   Is an amendment required for all VPPs that are changed?

Answer   An amendment is required any time there are significant changes to the recipient’s situation (for example, new activities or a change in activities, a new program or service, the plan date has ended, or a change in client type).