Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Your Guide to Employment and Assistance

The BC Employment and Assistance program assists British Columbians by helping people move from income assistance to sustainable employment, and by providing income assistance to those who are unable to fully participate in the workforce.

The ministry has a responsibility to ensure that available resources go to those people who need them most. That is why applicants are expected to take advantage of all other sources of income and assets before qualifying.

Individuals, such as people with disabilities who are able to work, are supported by specialized employment programs that assist them. Continuous assistance is also available to those in need who are not expected to gain independence through employment.

Personal responsibility and active participation are the key principles of the BC Employment and Assistance program. Employable applicants are expected to look for work before they receive assistance. People receiving income assistance are expected to complete an Employment Plan, seek work and participate in employment programs, so they may reach their goal of self-reliance, where able.

Who is Eligible?

If a person is:

  • out of work or earning very little
  • awaiting other income
  • unable to work, or
  • in immediate need of food, shelter or urgent medical attention

he or she may be able to receive income assistance or be referred to employment programming. Income and asset levels impact both eligibility and monthly assistance rates. Monthly assistance rates are also dependent on family size and case designation. If it is determined that an applicant has an immediate need, the immediate need will be addressed within the same business day. Hardship assistance may be issued in some situations when an individual is not eligible for income assistance.

What is the Work Search?

Prior to the eligibility assessment, you are expected to look for employment. The length of the work search period is:

  • five weeks if you have never received assistance
  • three weeks if you have previously received assistance

You are exempt from the work search if you have reached 65 years of age, if you are fleeing an abusive spouse or relative or if you or any person in your family unit is a person with disabilities.

You may be exempt from the work search for other reasons. For more information, visit:

If you or anyone in your family unit has an immediate need for food, shelter or urgent medical attention, you may be eligible for hardship assistance while you complete your work search.

During the work search period, you will need to:

  • access other potential sources of income such as family, friends and the community
  • collect the documents you need for the eligibility assessment
  • keep a detailed record of your search on the Work Search Activities Record



  1. Complete the Self Serve Assessment and Application Tool and orientation by visiting:, calling 1-866-866-0800 or visiting an Employment and Assistance office.
  1. Provide general information and orientation.
  1. Discuss and obtain copies of the Work Search Activities Guidelines, Work Search Activities Record, and Information/Documentation Checklist requirements, and complete the Stage 1 HR0080A consent form.
  1. Create a service request, contact applicant, provide required document checklist, complete Stage 1 HR0080A consent form with applicant, and conduct third-party checks.
If you still want to proceed...
  1. If required, do the work search and contact your local ministry office as directed for a review of your work search progress.
  1. Review applicant status at 14 days for the three-week work search (or 21 days for the five-week work search).
  1. To initiate your eligibility assessment, provide the required documentation as indicated on the checklist, and report any changes in your situation.
  1. Contact the applicant to conduct eligibility assessment and provide eligibility decision.
  1. If eligible, discuss next steps and if applicable, develop an Employment Plan.
  1. If not eligible, discuss reasons, be advised of the right to reconsideration and provided with reconsideration package/options.


All applicants must complete the online orientation, which outlines work search requirements, job search tips and the application process.

The orientation will also provide details about the necessary documents, income and asset levels, eligibility rules and work search expectations when applying for BC Employment and Assistance.

In cases where the applicant has literacy or cognitive barriers, or where an immediate need for food, shelter, or urgent medical attention has been identified, staff will accommodate the applicant’s circumstances by providing the orientation directly to the applicant.

The Self Serve Assessment and Application Tool includes an orientation on the BC Employment and Assistance Program:

Details are also available by calling the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation toll-free: 1-866-866-0800.

Your Eligibility Assessment

If you do not find employment during your work search period, and you continue the application process, ministry staff will:

  • verify the information you provide
  • determine your eligibility for income assistance
  • assess your readiness for employment
  • work with you to develop an Employment Plan

You must provide proof of your work search activities, including a record of employers contacted, along with other required documentation. Information from the Work Search Activities Record will assist you and ministry staff in determining your level of job readiness.

The application form is a legal document which lists your income, assets, family situation, and expenses. When you sign the form, you agree that all the information is correct. The ministry has legal authority to confirm the information you have provided.

Employment Programs

The Employment Program of BC helps people find work and provide stability for their families through a wide range of integrated employment services and supports. The first step in accessing these services and supports is to contact a WorkBC Employment Services Centre. To find a WorkBC Centre near you visit:

Some individuals  are not required to seek work while on assistance, such as single parents with a child under the age of three, or a person with a disability or persistent multiple barriers. If you feel you should be temporarily excused from being required to seek work, discuss this with ministry staff.

Other Assistance

The following are some additional assistance that may be available to you if you are receiving BC Employment and Assistance:

  • Confirmed Job Supplement
  • Crisis Supplement
  • Diet Supplements
  • Disability Assistance
  • Identification Supplement
  • Medical Transportation Supplement
  • Monthly Nutritional Supplement
  • Moving Cost Supplement
  • Natal Supplement
  • Pre-natal Shelter Supplement
  • Security Deposit
  • Special Transportation Subsidy
  • Supplement for Alcohol and Drug Treatment

For more information on these programs visit:

For More Information

Contact the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation by calling toll-free: 1-866-866-0800

or visit the ministry website at: