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Phase 2 Provincial Update
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The Department of Family Services and Housing, Employment and Income Assistance Division is responsible for the administration of the Employment and Income Assistance Program and the Building Independence Strategy. The Division also provides support to municipalities in areas outside of Winnipeg that administer the Municipal Assistance Program.
The Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) Program assists Manitobans to gain their independence by helping them make the transition from welfare to work and by providing financial assistance to Manitobans in need. The EIA caseload mainly consists of single parents, persons with disabilities as well as general assistance (singles, childless couples and 2-parent families)in Winnipeg and the unorganized territories of the province (i.e., areas not having a municipality).
As a condition of eligibility, the EIA Program has an expectation that general assistance and single parents with a child 6 years of age and over participate in an employment enhancement measure or seek employment. The employment expectation does not apply to single parents with a child less than six years, persons with a mental or physical illness or disability likely to last more than 90 days and persons staying in authorized crisis facilities, although those that are interested are encouraged to pursue training or employment.
Participants subject to an employment expectation are required to follow a Personal Action Plan. The employment expectation may be temporarily deferred for reasons of health or personal issues such as family violence or children with special needs. Participants who do not follow their Plan may have their budget reduced by $50 per month, followed by a further $50 reduction after six months ($100 maximum). Single general assistance participants may have their income assistance terminated. Benefits are re-instated when the participant resumes an employment enhancement measure or accepts employment.
Participants have the right to appeal any decision that denies, cancels, suspends, withholds or reduces income assistance. Appeals are made to an independent group, the Social Services Advisory Board.
Announced in April 2000, the Building Independence Strategy develops and coordinates initiatives that will help EIA and Municipal Assistance participants make links to training and employment. Building Independence also provides support for projects that increase job skills, employability and employment opportunities. In addition, the partnership with the Employment and Training Services Branch of the Department of Education, Training and Youth facilitates the link to training and employment services for income assistance participants.
Manitoba Family Services and Housing, Employment and Income Assistance Division
Employment and Income Assistance Program
Building Independence Strategy
Manitoba Education, Training and Youth
Employment and Training Services Branch
The EIA Program focus is employment for participants subject to an employment expectation (i.e., general assistance and single parents with a child 6 years and over). In consultation with EIA staff, participants develop their Personal Action Plan. EIA staff work with participants to implement the Employment Plan through pre-employment training, job search activities, short-term skill training programs or employment placement. While not subject to the employment expectation, single parents with a child under 6 years and persons with disabilities are encouraged to access training and employment opportunities.
The Building Independence Strategy develops and coordinates opportunities for income assistance participants who are looking for work and wanting to participate meaningfully in their communities. The Building Independence Strategy is designed to:
o provide substantive links to training and employment for EIA participants with other government departments;
o provide a range of supports to reduce barriers to employment such as subsidized child care and voice mail services, and;
o deliver new employment initiatives directly or in partnership with other agencies or government departments.
The EIA Program and the Building Independence Strategy assist participants to achieve their Action Plan. The following training and employment activities were implemented in response to the needs of specific populations within the EIA caseload:
EIA District Offices:
The Job Centre at the Intake Office directs single, job ready applicants to a variety of employment opportunities prior to applying to the EIA Program.
Steps to Independence group sessions, held once a week over a six-week period, help income assistance participants take the first step towards becoming independent by discussing the various program options with them.
Community Home Services Program provides an employment assessment and a paid work experience by hiring income assistance participants to provide yard work and house cleaning services for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities in Winnipeg.
Manitoba Conservation Corps provides employment opportunities for income assistance participants to gain skills within natural resources district offices.
Northern Affairs Projects provide employment opportunities for income assistance participants to work on community improvement projects with northern Community Councils.
Wage Subsidy Programs:
Manitoba Department of Education, Training and Youth administers a wage subsidy to encourage employers to hire EIA participants and provide on-the-job training leading to sustainable, full-time employment.
Rural Jobs Project provides a wage subsidy to create employment for municipal assistance participants outside of Winnipeg.
Training and Employment Partnerships with Non-Government Organizations:
Taking Charge! Inc. is an agency that offers a variety of employment-related programs for single parents receiving income assistance.
Opportunities for Employment is an agency that offers job search skills,skill-based training and employment placement to help income assistance participants secure competitive employment.
Partnerships for Employment Program of the Sara Riel Inc. agency helps income assistance participants with previous mental health concerns to secure and retain employment.
School Crossing Guard Project/Teacher's Assistant is a wage subsidy program in which the Winnipeg School Division Number One hires income assistance participants for 15 hours per week as school crossing guards. Training as a teacher's assistant is also provided during the final five months of the program.
Connect 2 Voice Mail Service is a pilot project in partnership with EIA, business and 18 community-based agencies. The free voice mail service allows up to 1,500 low-income individuals in Winnipeg to maintain contact with employers and service providers.
Child Care Assistant/Family Child Care Project provides training for income assistance participants to become licensed family day care providers or child care assistants in licensed day care centres. The project was developed in conjunction with Manitoba Child Day Care, Manitoba Education, Training and Youth, and the Family Centre of Winnipeg.
Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (P.A.T.H.) Centre, administered by the North End Community Renewal Corporation, is designed to help long-term income assistance participants break through their barriers to employment.
Individual Development Accounts Program provides comprehensive money management training, encourages saving and helps individuals set an investment goal related to employment, education or housing. Administered by a community-based agency, for every dollar saved, three dollars is deposited to the individual's matched account when the participant achieves his/her savings target.
In addition, the partnership with the Employment and Training Services Branch of the Department of Education, Training and Youth continues to develop effective and efficient delivery of training and employment programs for income assistance participants. The Branch provides pre-employment and job search activities, skills training and employment placement through in-house services as well as through contracts with non-government, community-based organizations.
Program Design and Implementation
The EIA Program and the Building Independence Strategy design training and employment programs within the EIA Division or in conjunction with the Employment and Training Services Branch, other government departments and community-based organizations. When developing initiatives, factors taken into consideration include: the income assistance population, the labour market demand, the available resources for programming, geographic area, etc. Recent initiatives focus on training and employment programs for single parents, youth, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities.
Funding and Program Costs
The Employment and Income Assistance total budget allocation was $342.4 million in 2000/01. The Building Independence Strategy allocation was $3.2 million.
Subsidized Child Care
Participants are to use subsidized child care services whenever possible. Child-care centres and family day care providers can charge parents up to $2.40 a day per child above the maximum fee subsidized by the Manitoba Child Day Care Program. Income assistance participants pay the first $1.40 of the extra charge and may be allowed excess special needs to pay any additional charge up to $1 per day per child and the children's transportation costs to attend subsidized day care. Participants must be attending education or training programs, seeking employment or be employed.
Participants involved in training or employment are eligible for transportation and miscellaneous allowance. Clothing and child care support are assessed on a case by case basis.
The Employment and Income Assistance Act and the Employment and Income Assistance Regulation govern eligibility for income assistance. Both categorical and financial eligibility criteria must be met before an applicant is eligible for assistance.
As a condition of eligibility for general assistance and single parents with a child over the age of 6 years, the EIA Program places an expectation that individuals participate in an employment enhancement measure or seek employment. The employment expectation may be deferred for reasons of health or personal issues such as family violence or children with special needs. The employment expectation does not apply to single parents with a child less than six years, persons with a mental or physical illness or disability likely to last more than 90 days, and persons staying in authorized crisis facilities, although those that are interested are encouraged to pursue employment or training.
In 2000/01, the EIA average monthly caseload was 31,962 comprised of 7,535 general assistance, 14,512 persons with disabilities, 9,446 single parents and 469 other.
Nature of Participation
As part of the application process, applicants likely subject to the employment expectation are invited to a pre-intake orientation session. The session provides information on the EIA Program, the application process, other sources of financial support, the employment expectation, the Action Plan and the role of EIA staff in developing, monitoring and assisting participant in their plan, and the consequences of not following the plan (i.e. remedial measures).
Orientation and Follow-up
At the intake interview, in consultation with EIA staff, participants complete their Action Plan which identifies the steps that individuals must follow in order to prepare for employment. Steps may include pre-employment preparation, training or job search activities.
The Action Plan includes a statement signed by the applicant regarding the consequences of not following the steps outlined in the plan. Participants who do not follow their Action Plan may have their budget reduced by $50 per month, followed by a further $50 reduction after six months ($100 maximum). Single general assistance participants may have their assistance terminated. Benefits are re-instated when the participant resumes an appropriate employment enhancement activity or accepts employment.
The District Office Director of EIA must give written notice to applicants and participants of any decision that denies, cancels, suspends, withholds or reduces income assistance. The written notice includes a statement of the person's right to appeal the decision. Appeals are submitted to the Social Services Advisory Board, an independent appeal board for decisions regarding provincial and municipal social assistance and other programs offered by Manitoba Family Services and Housing.
Applicants and income assistance participants have the right to appeal an income assistance decision if:
o the individual was not allowed to apply;
o the request was not dealt with in a reasonable amount of time;
o the application for assistance was denied;
o the assistance was cancelled, suspended, varied or withheld; or
o the individual thinks that the assistance amount is not enough to meet basic needs.
The process to appeal is as follows:
o appeals must be submitted to the Social Services Advisory Committee within 1 month of receiving the decision from a municipality or the province;
o the Appeal Board of Social Services Advisory Board holds an appeal hearing, then makes a decision within 10 days that either allows or dismisses the appeal;
o the decision of the Appeal Board may be challenged before the Manitoba Provincial Court of Appeal or the Court of Queen's Bench on a point of law or jurisdiction.
Manitoba posted the lowest unemployment rate among Canadian provinces in both 1998 and 1999. Manitoba's unemployment rate was expected to decline further to 5.3% in 2000.
When developing the participant's Action Plan, the existing community supports are considered, such as child care, transportation and available employment opportunities. Participants who require counselling for personal issues or addictions are referred to the appropriate community resource.
The general indicators used are the monthly caseload and the number of participants reporting income. For specific training and employment initiatives, the indicators of program outputs (i.e. number of individuals attending) and program outcomes (i.e. number of individuals employed) are used.
The Canada-Manitoba Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) provides for the delivery of labour market programming in the form of benefits and measures (programs) under Part II of the Employment Insurance Act. The objective is to assist individuals prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and to reduce their dependency on income support, including EI benefits and social assistance. The agreement was signed April 17, 1997 for an indefinite period.
The LMDA provides Manitoba with the ability to invest approximately $50 million annually in program funds to achieve the following objectives:
o to more effectively link employment and training to the needs of the provincial economy and labour market;
o to provide one-stop centres of access for Manitobans looking for work; and
o to reduce duplication and overlap of federal and provincial employment programs and services.
LMDA funds serve a number of purposes, including skills training, employment assistance services, wage subsidies, supports to access skills training such as tuition, books, equipment, transportation, child care and living supports, and Labour Adjustment committees.
The Province of Manitoba released its White Paper, "Full Citizenship: A Manitoba Strategy on Disability" which proposes a comprehensive provincial strategy on disability. The paper responds to recommendations from the community of persons with disabilities in the areas of access to government, employment, disability supports, services to Aboriginal persons with disabilities and income supports. The White Paper proposes measures to enhance government accountability to ensure access and inclusion of persons with disabilities. Concerning access to training and employment resources, the White Paper proposes that resources be reviewed to remove barriers and to provide disability supports such as transportation.
Government of Manitoba:
o The Employment and Income Assistance Act; The Municipal Assistance Act
o The Employment and Income Assistance Regulation
o The Employment and Income Assistance Administrative Manual
o A Bridge to the Future: Employment and Income Assistance Program (brochure)
Available on Government of Manitoba Website
o Human Services Guide, an information database of services offered by the Manitoba Department of Family Services and Housing and by the Manitoba Department of Education, Training and Youth (link located on the homepage)
o Child Care Information System allows Manitoba families to estimate the family fee and the amount of child care subsidy for a four-week period in licensed child care and to apply online for child care subsidy. Child care facilities are able to report child attendance for subsidized and non-subsidized children (located under the Department of Family Services and Housing, Child and Family Services Division, Child Day Care Branch)
o The Employment and Income Assistance Administrative Manual, including the EIA Act and Regulation (located under the Department of Family Services and Housing, Employment and Income Assistance Division)
o Manitoba Advantage - Business Facts (located under the Department of Industry, Trades and Mines, Manitoba Advantage)
Employment Development and Community Liaison
Employment and Income Assistance Division
Manitoba Family Services and Housing
305-114 Garry Street