Categories of Clients
Unemployed British Columbians with a wide range of employment-related needs, skills, education, experience and circumstances are eligible to receive EPBC services. Clients have been categorized into three groups to ensure accountability to funders and determination of client eligibility for services where there are specific funder eligibility requirements.
Categories of clients for the purposes of the program are:
- Employment Insurance (EI) Clients
- British Columbia Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Clients
- General Clients (those who are neither EI nor BCEA Clients)
Employment Insurance (EI) Clients
The term “Employment Insurance Client” or “EI Client” as defined in the Glossary means an unemployed person who, when requesting services of the program, is either an Active EI Claimant or an EI Reachback Client:
- Active EI Claimants are individuals who have established a claim for Regular EI benefits. They are required to be available and seeking work on a full-time basis as a condition of receiving EI. Service Canada will advise EI claimants of employment services available to them to support them in their job search, but it is up to the claimant to undertake a job search that meets the requirements for ongoing eligibility for EI. These individuals will self-refer to the EPBC if they choose to access program services.
- Former EI Claimants (commonly known as Reachback Clients) are individuals who had established an EI claim within the past few years. These individuals are not receiving EI benefits currently and do not have any job search obligations. These Clients will also self-refer to the EPBC to access program services.
- Unemployed individuals who meet eligibility criteria for EI benefits must apply for EI benefits to determine if they are eligible as an EI Client (in order to be considered for services that require EI eligibility) or to confirm eligibility for services that are only available to clients who are not EI eligible. See the Service Canada website for more information on EI eligibility.
If clients are seeking information about eligibility for EI or about their EI claims, they are to be referred to Service Canada for information. The Ministry and its contracted service providers are not authorized to provide advice or guidance related to EI policies or legislation.
EPBC Service Providers are expected to be knowledgeable regarding basic EI eligibility and application processes and in supporting clients, as needed, in accessing this type of information if required.
The Ministry (ELMSD) is responsible for three key processes related to EI Client participation in EPBC services:
- Verification of EI Client Status, for specific services requiring EI Client eligibility verification
- EI Section 25 Referrals, to authorize full-time participation by an Active EI Claimant in specific EPBC services, and in doing so, temporarily waiving their obligation to job search as a condition of receiving EI benefits and allowing them to continue to collect EI while participating in that service.
- Authorizations to Quit Employment. In rare and exceptional circumstances, Clients may receive Ministry authorization to quit their jobs to participate in EPBC services.
BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Clients
The BC Employment and Assistance (BCEA) Program assists British Columbians by helping people move from income assistance to Sustainable Employment, and by providing income assistance to those who are unable to fully participate in the workforce.
BCEA Clients, or recipients of British Columbia Employment and Assistance, may be formally referred to the Program by the Ministry (RSD) or may self-refer to the Program.
BCEA Clients who are not referred to the EPBC, and who are Employment Obligated, or who have employment as a goal and, in the opinion of the Ministry (RSD), are suitable for and could benefit from EPBC services, will be encouraged to access Self-Serve Services.
All Employment Obligated BCEA Clients must enter into an Employment Plan with the Ministry. The Employment Plan is a legal document outlining the activities and expectations which income assistance recipients are required to follow in becoming employed or more employable, including the timeframe. When required by the Ministry, entering into and complying with an Employment Plan is a condition of eligibility for assistance.
EPBC Service Providers are required to work with BCEA Clients to support them in their job search and to develop Action Plans that are aligned with the Client’s Employment Plan.
It is the Client’s responsibility, not the EPBC Service Provider’s, to ensure he or she meets the requirements and obligations of their Employment Plan.
Clients are responsible for meeting all requirements for ongoing BCEA eligibility and should discuss any questions or concerns related to BCEA with Ministry (RSD) staff. Determinations regarding Client eligibility, exemptions, or compliance with BCEA requirements and imposing of Sanctions are the sole responsibility of the Ministry.
EPBC Service Providers are expected to be knowledgeable regarding basic BCEA eligibility and application processes and in supporting Clients, as needed, in accessing this type of information if required.
EPBC Service Providers do not provide Clients with advice, guidance or interpretation related to BCEA legislation, policies or requirements. BCEA Clients should be advised to discuss such matters with Ministry (RSD) staff.
Types of BCEA Clients that may access EPBC Services
Referred employment obligated BCEA clients
Some Employment Obligated BCEA Clients will be formally referred to the EPBC.
These Clients will have Employment Plans that stipulate the requirement that they participate in the EPBC. They will be referred for, or advised to schedule, a Formal Needs Assessment (FNA) with the EPBC Service Provider in their Catchment Area within ten days of the date of referral to determine the need for Case Management.
Self-referred employment obligated BCEA clients
BCEA Clients who are not formally referred to the EPBC, but who have Employment Obligations are assigned to Supervised Independent Work Search (SIWS).
All Employment Obligated BCEA Clients have a primary obligation to find Employment as quickly as possible and to sustain it in order to eliminate or reduce dependence on income assistance.
These Clients will be encouraged by Ministry (RSD) staff to access EPBC Self-Serve Services. If identified as needing Case Management by EPBC Service Providers, they can be accepted for Case Management, but require a referral from the Ministry (RSD) and a new Employment Plan with the Ministry (RSD) specifying their obligation to participate in EPBC services.
Non-employment obligated clients
The Ministry expects employable recipients to search for, accept and continue in employment. However, recipients who meet certain criteria detailed in the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act may be temporarily exempt from this requirement. These recipients are considered to have No Employment Obligations.
These Clients may also be encouraged by Ministry (RSD) staff to access EPBC Self-Serve Services. If identified as needing Case Management by EPBC Service Providers, they can be accepted for Case Management, and do not require a referral from the Ministry (RSD) or an Employment Plan with the Ministry (RSD).
Enquirers are applicants for BCEA who are required to undertake a three-week work search prior to their application for BCEA being considered. The intent of this requirement is to emphasize that income assistance is a program of last resort intended to be provided on a temporary basis to individuals only when, and until, they are able to support themselves. The purpose of the three-week work search is to ensure that applicants make every effort to find Employment and avoid the need to rely on income assistance.
Enquirers will be encouraged by the Ministry (RSD) to access EPBC Self-Serve Services to support them in finding work to maintain their independence and self-sufficiency.
A General Client is an unemployed individual who is neither an EI Client nor a BCEA Client. General Clients can access most EPBC services, including Case Management if needed, but are not eligible for some Case Managed and Supplemental Services. A General Client may, however, be eligible for alternative employment programming.
General Clients will self-refer to the EPBC to access services, or may be encouraged to access EPBC services by other community or government organizations, or by employers, in situations of lay off or termination, to support the Client in receiving services that will help them become employed.
General clients with disabilities
General Clients with disabilities can access EPBC services in a manner similar to other Program Clients with disabilities, except where services are restricted specifically to EI Clients or BCEA Clients.
All Case Managed Clients with disabilities who are requesting, or who are assessed as potentially needing, employment related disability Program services or supports must participate in a Disability Related Needs Assessment (DRENA). The DRENA confirms employment related disability needs and eligibility for Program services and supports targeted to meeting the needs of this Specialized Population.