Work BC’s Single Parent Employment Initiative: Starting Sept. 1, 2015

Single Parent Employment Initiative - Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, Province of British Columbia
Single Parent Employment Initiative – Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, Province of British Columbia

On March 12, 2015, the B.C. Government announced the Single Parent Employment Initiative.

Effective September 1, 2015, the following changes will be made to existing income assistance policy and employment programming to support single parents on income and disability assistance find and secure long-term sustainable employment.

  • Expansion to the current Employment Program of BC (EPBC) to allow single parents onassistanceto accessadditional services and supports throughWorkBC Employment Service Centres, such as paid work experience placements and up to 12 months of funded training.
    • If a single parent is assessed as needing training in order to gain employment in one of today’s in-demand occupations, they will be able to continue receiving income assistance for up to 12 months while participating in an approved training program.
  • Additional child care and transportation supports while participating in EPBC.
  • Once employed, single parents that are eligible for the child care subsidy will also have access to additional child care supports for up to one year.

Additionally, effective September 1, 2015, all families on assistance will receive an increased earnings exemption and have access to transitional health supplements for up to 12 months after leaving assistance for employment.

View the Government of B.C. news release for more information.

 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible?
  2. How does someone access the program?
  3. What will be covered?
  4. Is there a tuition cap if participating in training?
  5. What if someone is exempt from employment obligations?
  6. What service options will be available through WorkBC?
  7. If someone has prior training or a degree, will they still qualify for the program?
  8. What training programs will be offered?
  9. Can someone take the first year of a 4 year degree program then go to student financial assistance for years 2, 3, and 4?

The Government of B.C. will invest $24.5 million over five years to help single parents on income and disability assistance transition into the workforce with skills that align with today’s labour market.

Who is eligible?

Single parents on income or disability assistance are eligible to participate in the Single Parent Employment Initiative.

How does someone access the program?

Beginning September 1, 2015, single parents on income or disability assistance that are looking to re-attach to the labour force will receive more information from their caseworker on how to access services and supports through a WorkBC Employment Services Centre in their area.

What will be covered?

Based on individual need, participants will have access to a range of supports, including:

  • Paid work experience placements.
  • Tuition and education costs for approved training programs that last up to 12 months for in-demand jobs.
  • Additional child care and transportation supports while participating in EPBC.
  • Once employed, single parents that are eligible for the child care subsidy will also have access to additional child care supports for up to one year.

Participants will also be able to remain on income assistance for up to 12 months while attending training.

Additionally, effective September 1, 2015, all families on assistance will receive an increased earnings exemption and have access to transitional health supplements for up to 12 months after leaving assistance for employment.

Is there a tuition cap if participating in training?

There is a $7,500 tuition cap.

What if someone is exempt from employment obligations?

They will be able to take advantage of these new opportunities if they are looking to find sustainable employment; but, their assistance status will remain unchanged.

What service options will be available through WorkBC?

WorkBC will provide many paths to employment. Paid work experience and funded training are a few options. Single parents will work with employment counsellors at WorkBC Employment Services Centres like Career Link to help them determine the best route to finding a job.

If someone has prior training or a degree, will they still qualify for the program?

Participants will receive an individualized assessment through WorkBC. If someone already has skills for an in-demand job then WorkBC will focus on how to help them best apply these skills to the job market.

The intent is to enable single parents to gain long-term sustainable employment. BC 2022 Labour Market Outlook PDF provides an overview of jobs we expect to be in-demand in BC. While not every job listed in this report will be funded by this initiative, as some require more than 12 months training, it provides good context to understanding the labour market in BC.

If a single parent is assessed as needing training in order to find and secure employment, some examples of training programs that will be covered in the initiative may include: Early Childhood Education; Administrative Assistant; Medical Office Assistant; Special Education Assistant; and Welding Foundation.

Staff at WorkBC will work with single parents to assess their skills and their current needs and connect them with the necessary services and supports required to gain employment.

Can someone take the first year of a 4 year degree program then go to student financial assistance for years 2, 3, and 4?

The training focuses on programs that can be completed within 12 months. The goal is that at the end of the training the person would be job ready. Anyone who wants to take a longer program can access student financial aid. Staff at WorkBC would help them find the right program and the right funding source (including grants available to single parents).

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