Moving, Transportation, & Living Costs

Overview

A supplement may be provided to recipients of income assistance, hardship assistance, or disability assistance who have no other resources to cover necessary moving, transportation, and living expenses. Eligible expenses include costs such as:

  • moving costs of recipients who are moving to a confirmed job or who must move because of threats to their physical safety
  • moving costs of recipients who have found accommodation that is significantly less expensive than their current accommodation
  • moving costs of recipients who have been compelled to move from their rented accommodation
  • storage costs if necessary to store the family’s personal effects while they are moving (and associated moving costs)
  • transportation and living costs of recipients required to attend a child protection hearing
  •  transportation, living, and child care costs of recipients to attend a court hearing or a DNA paternity testing collection site when the recipient is receiving help from the ministry with obtaining a maintenance order or written agreement

The recipient must get ministry approval before incurring costs unless ministry staff determine that there were exceptional circumstances to justify not requesting and/or receiving pre-approval.

This supplement is available under the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.

Policy

Effective:  July 1, 2019

A Moving, Transportation and Living Costs Supplement is provided to assist with one or more of the following: 
 

  • moving costs required to move anywhere in Canada, if a recipient in the family unit is not working but has arranged confirmed employment that would significantly promote the financial independence of the family unit and the recipient is required to move to begin that employment

Note: Eligible recipients may use the Confirmed Job Supplement to pay for transportation to a confirmed job (e.g., to purchase a bus pass) [see Related Links – Confirmed Job Supplement]
 

  • moving costs required to move to another province or country, if the family unit is required to move to improve its living circumstances [see Policy - Moves Outside of BC]
     
  • moving costs required to move within British Columbia because the family unit has been compelled to vacate their rented residential accommodation (i.e. they are forced to move because their accommodation is being sold, demolished or condemned, they have been evicted for any other reason, or they have no reasonable alternative other than to vacate). It is not required that an eviction be a legal eviction in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act
     
  • moving costs required to move within British Columbia if the family unit’s shelter costs would be significantly reduced because of the move
     
  • moving costs required to move within British Columbia to avoid an imminent threat to the physical safety of any person in the family unit

Note: Imminent threat to the physical safety refers to an immediate need for assistance with moving costs where, without moving, the person (or any member of the family unit) is at risk of harm from becoming homeless, unsafe living conditions (e.g. rodent infestations which are not being addressed by the landlord), or similar circumstances. It may also include risks from domestic violence (including physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse as well as intimidation and stalking), the need to move to avoid exposure to drug use or a risk to the safety of children who require additional support e.g. from extended family. For persons fleeing abuse, the imminent nature of the threat may continue even after leaving their home. Risk of abuse may continue while living in temporary housing (for example, a transition house or emergency shelter) so assistance with moving costs may be considered to move from temporary housing to more permanent housing.

  • transportation costs and living costs required to attend a hearing relating to a child protection proceeding under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, if a recipient is given notice of the hearing and is a party to the proceeding.
     
  • transportation costs, living costs, and child care costs when a recipient is receiving help from the ministry with obtaining a maintenance order or written agreement and they are required to attend any of the following:
    • court hearings, when a recipient is given notice of the hearing and is a party to the proceeding.
    • DNA paternity testing collection sites
       

A family unit may be eligible for this supplement only if both of the following apply:
 

  • there are no resources available to the family unit to cover the costs for which the supplement may be provided
  • a recipient in the family unit receives approval from the ministry before incurring those costs unless there were exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the family unit (including the ministry being unable to action a request in a timely fashion).

A moving, transportation and living costs supplement may be provided to assist with the cost of the least expensive appropriate mode of moving or transportation, or the least expensive appropriate living costs.

Storage

Storage fees can be considered a moving cost and paid by the ministry when a family unit’s possessions must be placed into storage temporarily during the course of a move. This may include moves to/from a transition house for persons fleeing abuse as well as moves for recipients going into residential drug and/or alcohol treatment who must vacate their accommodation, and require storage over the short term course of treatment. Recipients are only eligible to have their storage fees paid if they are eligible for the moving supplement. Storage fees may not be paid on an ongoing basis, although exceptional circumstances (e.g. hospitalization of recipient) may be considered.

Estimates

Recipients must provide a cost estimate in advance of the move (unless there are exceptional circumstances). Recipients may submit a cost estimate with their request for a moving supplement or after they confirm with the ministry that their reason for moving meets the eligibility criteria.

If a recipient intends to move their belongings themselves, they:

  • May be issued the supplement to pay for gas and ferry fare, tolls etc. (as applicable) if they own or have the use of a suitable vehicle to move themselves.
  • Must provide an estimate for the cost of a rental truck (and associated costs such as gas, ferry fares, tolls etc.), if they do not own or have the use of a suitable vehicle to move themselves.

If a recipient is unable to move their belongings themselves, they must provide a cost estimate from a moving company for moving their belongings. The ministry may request an additional estimate if it establishes that the estimate provided is unreasonable.    

Reimbursement for expenses

Recipients who move without first receiving approval from the ministry will be reimbursed if there were exceptional circumstances (including the ministry being unable to action a request in a timely fashion and the family is fleeing abuse and needed to act in an emergency situation).

Effective:  July 1, 2019

Recipients who must move from accommodation may be eligible for assistance with moving and transportation costs within BC:

  • if they have been compelled to vacate their rental accommodation (i.e. they are forced to move because their home is being sold, demolished or condemned, they have been evicted for any reason, or they have no reasonable alternative other than to vacate)
  • If their shelter costs would be significantly reduced because of the move
  • If they are required to move to avoid an imminent threat to the physical safety of any person in the family unit
  • If they are not working, have confirmed employment, and are required to move to begin that employment

When recipients are required to move because of damage to the home they own and have insured, they must submit an insurance claim to their insurance company to pay their moving expenses.

Effective:  July 1, 2019

Recipients may be eligible to receive the supplement for a move outside of BC if either:

  • the move will significantly improve their living circumstances (i.e., move to a permanent, supportive, positive environment that is not available in this province). (An action plan for at least temporary accommodation in the receiving jurisdiction, and verifying documentation are required) OR
  • they are not working but have arranged confirmed employment that would significantly promote the financial independence of the family unit and they must move to begin that employment.

The ministry may pay for the transportation of recipients and regular baggage allotment expenses. Shipping costs for personal assets, such as heavy furniture or household goods, will not be paid for recipients moving out of province. Exceptions may be approved by the Supervisor where demonstrated need for the item(s) can be attributed to a family unit member’s disability.

If an escort is required, the ministry may pay the transportation, meal and minimum essential accommodation costs of the escort if the costs cannot be met by other means.  Ministry staff are not to act as escorts.

The ministry does not pay for a person to move to BC.

Moving Out of Canada

Where recipients have been unable to make a successful transition to Canadian society from their country of origin, assistance may be approved by the Manager to enable the family unit to move to another country.

Only the costs of moving to the nearest port of entry in the receiving country may be paid.

[For authority to approve assistance to enable a family unit to move to another country, see Authorities and Responsibilities.]

Effective:  July 2, 2004

Transportation costs and living costs may be provided to recipients who are required to attend a hearing related to child protection.

Recipients who are obligated to attend a hearing related to child protection issues may be eligible for funds to travel to the hearing only in cases where they have been given notice of a child protection action pursuant to the Child, Family & Community Services Act.

Assistance with transportation costs/living costs is limited to hearings within BC.

If a person is brought to court for a hearing and is unable to return home due to lack of funds, assistance may be provided to assist with transportation costs.

[see Procedures – Payment of Expenses Related to Child Protection Hearings]

 

Expenses Related to  Family Maintenance Services

Effective:  September 1, 2015

Family Maintenance Related Court Hearing

Transportation costs, living costs, and child care costs may be provided to recipients who are obliged to attend a court hearing when  receiving family maintenance services through the ministry.

Assistance with transportation costs, living costs and child care costs is limited to hearings within BC.

If a person is brought to court for a hearing and is unable to return home due to lack of funds, assistance may be provided to assist with transportation costs.

DNA Paternity Testing

Transportation costs, living costs, and child care costs may be provided in cases where medical tests for DNA paternity testing required by  family maintenance services cannot be collected locally.

[For procedures on providing payments for expenses related to attending a family maintenance court hearing or for DNA paternity testing, see Procedures – Payments for Expenses Related to Family Maintenance Services.]

Procedures

Effective:  July 1, 2019

Recipients applying for a supplement to move outside BC must provide the following information for all family members moving:

  • name, age, and date of birth

  • reason for the moving request, indicating that move is permanent and that it is necessary to move outside BC to improve living circumstances

  • financial statement detailing all financial resources that could be used to defray moving costs, including:

    • income
    • assets
    • exempt income
    • non-assets (per regulation)
    • assistance from other resources
       
  • costs of any approved escort (these costs must be clearly recorded separately from those of family members relocating)

Effective:  July 1, 2019

Recipients applying for a supplement to move outside Canada must provide the following information for all family members moving:
 

  • name, age, and date of birth
  • date of arrival in Canada
  • history of immigration status
  • employment history:
  • in Canada
  • outside Canada
  • structural employment barriers encountered in Canada
  • country of destination
  • explanation if not country of origin
  • financial statement detailing all financial resources that could be used to cover moving costs, including:
  • income
  • assets
  • exempt income
  • non-assets (per regulation)
  • assistance from other resources
  • proof of receipt of income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance
  • written confirmation from legal representative of receiving country stating both of the following:
  • recipient and dependants will be admitted
  • receiving country is unable to assist with moving costs
  • written confirmation from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that IRCC will not assist with moving costs
  • written confirmation from local police that no outstanding Canadian Criminal Code warrants exist for any family member leaving Canada
  • reason for the moving request, indicating all of the following:
  • supportive environment in receiving country that is not available in Canada
  • significant social factors (e.g., medical disability, criminal activities impeding adjustment, etc.)
  • move is permanent
  • costs of any approved escort (these costs must be clearly recorded separately from those of family members relocating)

Effective:  July 2, 2004

Before issuing transportation and living costs for a recipient to attend a child protection hearing, ministry staff must contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker to confirm the court dates.  In determining appropriate transportation costs and living costs for a recipient to attend a child protection hearing, apply all of the following guidelines:
 

  • Use the most economical means available to meet any required transportation cost.
  • If an overnight stay will be necessary and the recipient cannot stay with friends or relatives, contact the local ministry office for suggestions as to where reasonable accommodation can be obtained.  If hotel accommodation is required, the maximum amount provided is the maximum hotel rate in effect for public employees.
  • In providing for the cost of meals away from home, use up to the maximum Group 1 per diem in effect for public employees.

For information on hotel and accommodation rates for Government of BC employees, see Employee Travel Policy.  [see Additional Resources]

Effective:  September 1, 2015

When a recipient has been found eligible for a supplement to assist with transportation costs, living costs or child care costs, ministry staff will determine the appropriate cost and issue the payment. An EAW can issue the payment after verifying the approved amount with the recipient (e.g., documentation of court date, location for child or spousal support).

Transportation and Living Costs

In determining appropriate transportation costs and living costs for a recipient attending a family maintenance hearing, when  receiving family maintenance services, or participating in DNA paternity testing, apply all of the following guidelines:
 

  • Use the most economical means available to meet any required transportation cost.
  • If an overnight stay will be necessary and the recipient cannot stay with friends or relatives, contact the local ministry office for suggestions as to where reasonable accommodation can be obtained.  If hotel accommodation is required the maximum amount provided is the maximum hotel rate in effect for public employees.
  • In providing for the cost of meals away from home, use up to the maximum Group 1 per diem in effect for public employees.

For information on hotel and accommodation rates for Government of BC employees, see Employee Travel Policy.  [see Additional Resources]

Child Care Expenses

In determining appropriate child care costs for a recipient to attend a family maintenance hearing, when  receiving family maintenance services, or participating in DNA paternity testing,  the child care benefit rates [see Additional Resources] may be considered as guidelines.  However, the individual circumstances of the family unit must be taken into account, such as the length of time child care is required and special needs children.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective:  July 1, 2019

Moving, Transportation and Living Costs Supplements

Supervisor

Approving:

  • funding for moves exceeding $700
  • funding for out of province moves of furniture (related to disability) exceeding $500
  • funding for moves out of BC to confirmed employment exceeding $700
  • funding for emergency moves due to threat to the physical safety of the recipient
  • funding for moves where mode or cost is unusual

Manager

Approving:

  • funding an escort is required for a move out of BC
  • funding for moves out of Canada
  • funding for moves out of BC to improve living circumstances