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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Phase 1 Provincial Summary
The Employment Enhancement Program (EEP) and Job Creation Program (JCP) are sub- programs of PEI's Welfare Assistance Program and are available to residents throughout the province. Their primary focus is job creation with the private sector; however, placements are also made in both municipal and provincial governments, as well as with non-profit groups.
The EEP is designed to assist social assistance recipients by providing work and training opportunities that help remove barriers to employment. The JCP is aimed at assisting recipients to retain or learn new work skills through short-term employment as they move toward independence. In particular, the JCP provides an opportunity for clients to develop or re-learn work skills. PEI has five regional health authorities where staff deliver both programs. This provides a continuum of services focused on the needs of the client, rather than on the needs of the employer.
Initially, EEP and JCP were targeted to the heads of large families in order to effect the maximum possible reduction in welfare assistance payments. Now, however, all employable social assistance clients must participate in the programs. Within reason, participants can go through the programs at their own pace. There is a contractual understanding with each client and there are sanctions for non-compliance. Benefits are not provided for applicants who choose to leave their employment in order to qualify for social assistance or without regard for their ability to be self-supporting. Participants always have the right to appeal a decision to an independently appointed body.
Some clients with severe alcohol or mental problems are deemed to be unemployable. As well, when certain services stipulated by the programs cannot be provided, a participant can leave the programs without being penalized.
There is local autonomy in the design and implementation of the programs. Programs do not have regulations or policy manuals and they are seen by administrators as flexible and responsive to local needs. The program design takes into account the specific needs of women (some projects are geared to women as they re-enter the workforce), single parents, people with a disability and youth. While some projects are aimed at women, nothing has been developed to promote well-paid jobs specifically for women. The objective of the programs is to promote well-paid jobs for all clients.
The programs were designed to ensure that participants do not displace workers already holding paid jobs in the local economy.
The budget for 199697 was $38.845 million including EEP/JCP expenditures; total EEP/JCP expenditures for 199596 were $1.888 million. Spending for 199798 is forecast at $2.283 million. In 199394, there were 6,400 clients in receipt of social assistance; in 199697, there were 5,400, with about half of these considered to be employable. In 199596, 3,336 clients participated in EEP and JCP.
Group orientation sessions sometimes precede individual employability assessments, which usually take about one to one-and-a-half hours. The orientation sessions are held in the work sites of the regional health authorities. During individual intake, participants are informed about the objectives and requirements of the programs. Assistance and follow-up varies from one region to the next, but the province plans to place more emphasis on this aspect of the programs.
There is no formal evaluation tool for these programs, but a limited number of statistics on the programs are being collected, including participants' participation and performance. Findings to date have identified increasing numbers of single parents and of young, single employable males in receipt of social assistance.
© Copyright Canadian Council on Social Development, 1999. All rights reserved.