Welfare to Work

Phase 1

Provincial and Territorial Summaries

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Phase 1 Territorial Summary

Employment Training Services (ETS) and Headstart (HS) are programs of the Yukon Ministry of Health and Social Services. ETS provides individual counselling to social assistance recipients on training, employment and attaining self-sufficiency. HS is a job-training and wage-subsidy program designed exclusively for social assistance recipients. It began in 1993 as a federal–territorial joint program under the Social Assistance Recipients Agreement and was expanded to accommodate 45 people in 1994–95.

ETS and HS are the results of government action to increase the employability of social assistance recipients, eliminate waste, detect fraud, recover monies where appropriate and introduce incentives to get recipients off social assistance through increased exemptions.

Training and education are primarily provided at Yukon College, and various high schools and literacy programs focus on upgrading. Private sector (any private business in operation for at least six months), public sector (e.g., municipalities, First Nations) and non-profit (e.g., day-care centres) employers participate in the employment-based activities for recipients.

ETS and HS primarily target the longer-term unemployed, including people with disabilities. In most cases, employable people receiving social assistance become eligible for training and wage subsidies when they have been in receipt of social assistance for six months. Although ETS and HS are voluntary, employable social assistance recipients must complete a self-sufficiency plan and show that they are looking for alternative methods of support to continue to be eligible for social assistance. Participants have to complete the entire program within a specified period. For HS, the period is 20 weeks. There is more flexibility in ETS; it is supposed to be a 90-day period but can be longer if required or desired. Participants can repeat HS and ETS. Program participants may lose access to supplements or subsidies if program deadlines are not met. If they are not participating according to reasonable expectations, they will receive only emergency aid to cover food, shelter and utilities. A social assistance applicant or recipient can appeal any departmental decision on eligibility or level of assistance.

Under some circumstances, participants can leave the HS program and not be penalized. These include lack of child care, a communication or other breakdown that makes it unsuitable for the recipient to continue in a placement, family responsibilities or other circumstances beyond the control of the recipient.

There is some local flexibility in program design and implementation; consideration is given to the availability of employment, education, training opportunities and child care in the community. The program was designed to ensure that participants not displace workers already holding paid jobs in the local economy. The needs of aboriginal people are primarily met by Indian and Northern Affairs. Single parents and people with disabilities are the focus of some programming.

Funds have been allocated for ETS and HS as ongoing programs. The funding has been relatively constant. For 1996–97, the HS program cost was $300,000. ETS cost $150,000 for two full-time positions, plus benefits, plus $30,000 for contracts. The ETS program has a caseload of about 30 people, who rotate every 90 days. In addition, ETS offers résumé drop-in help and workshops. Total caseload is about 300 per year. The HS program costs $6,000 per participant per year, which means it can handle 50 full-time contracts per year.

All new social assistance applicants must attend ETS information workshops to familiarize themselves with opportunities to become self-sufficient. ETS has ongoing self-evaluations that result in changes to improve the program and the services offered. An evaluation of HS is just beginning.

© Copyright Canadian Council on Social Development, 1999. All rights reserved.

Last Revised: Mon, Dec 10, 2001

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