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Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Media Relations
250 889-9742


Policy changes support poverty reduction

Updating the definition of a dependent child:

This will better support families on assistance by addressing current gaps in shared parenting situations. The new definition allows a child to access the full range of benefits and supports available to them, even if only one of their separated parents is on income or disability assistance.

Updating the definition of a spouse:

This will modernize the ministry’s definition of a spouse to better support people entering and leaving relationships by:

  • increasing the amount of time two people can live together before reducing their assistance to the lower couples’ rate; and
  • providing the singles’ assistance rate to two married people who have separated but not yet divorced, and are living in the same residence independently.

Streamlining the assistance reapplication process:

The streamlined reapplication period will increase from three to six months for people who need to return to assistance. The updated timeframe will support people with more timely access to the income and disability supports that they need.

Removing the two-year financial independence rule:

Removing the two-year waiting period will better support vulnerable young adults in need of immediate access to income supports and benefits.

Removing the early Canada Pension Plan requirement:

This will improve the financial security of low-income people by ending the need for recipients of income and disability assistance to pursue early Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits if they are younger than 65.

Information and verification requirements (Section 10):

This will ensure document requirements do not create homelessness by ending the practice of automatically removing people who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness from assistance if they are unable to provide documentation, and replacing the practice with a sanction of $25 per month.

Income and disability monthly report:

This will create more responsive, people-centred services by avoiding the need for regulation amendments whenever the monthly report form is updated, which slows down the process.

Supplements for rent and pet deposits:

This will prevent homelessness by removing the limit on the number of rental security deposits and creating a new pet security deposit so that people can find and maintain housing.

Crisis supplements for shelter:

Crisis shelter supplements will be increased, which will help with unexpected shelter costs by providing the full monthly amount of support and shelter for a family.

Creating a maximum repayment of debt:

This will ensure any repayment of debt people on assistance make is not more than the minimum repayment amount, unless they request to pay more, and ensuring that only one ministry debt is recovered at a time.

Support for hardship assistance:

This will provide people on hardship assistance with more supports while they work to establish their eligibility for income and disability assistance. People receiving hardship assistance now have access to supplements that are available to people on income and disability assistance. The expanded supports will help people address their health needs and, to help keep people safe, they will not be required to repay supports in situations of domestic violence and treatment in special care facilities.