Governing Legislation and Resources for Welfare (21:II)
A. Governing Legislation
Welfare law in BC is governed by the following statutes and regulations, all of which are available at www.bclaws.ca:
Employment and Assistance Act, SBC 2002, c 40 [EAA];
Employment and Assistance Regulation, BC Reg 263/2002 [EAR];
Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, SBC 2002, c 41 [EAPWDA]; and
Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation, BC Reg 265/2002 [EAPWDR].
Forms regulations under the EAA and EAPWDA create many of the forms that the Ministry uses in administering welfare. See also the Child in the Home of a Relative Transition Regulation, BC Reg 48/2010.
Please keep in mind the following important points when dealing with a welfare law issue.
- Be current. The statutes and especially the regulations governing welfare in BC can change often. Therefore, it is very important to check the BC Laws website and confirm that one is dealing with the most current legislation.
- Be comprehensive. Be sure to read the relevant section of the appropriate act or regulation in its entirety and to scan the legislation for other relevant sections. The legislation is complex and often a number of provisions work together to govern a particular program or benefit.
- Be alert to mandatory versus discretionary wording. Welfare legislation contains a mix of mandatory provisions (requiring the government to do or provide something) and discretionary provisions (which permit, but do not require, the government to act in a particular way). Consider whether the legislative provisions relevant to the client’s case are mandatory or discretionary.
See Chapter 22: Referrals for additional referrals.
Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)
- May advise on general welfare matters and help clients with judicial reviews.
Disability Alliance of BC
- Offers one-on-one assistance to individuals applying for benefits or appealing the denial of benefits. Particularly experienced in appeals about eligibility for the Persons with Disabilities ("PWD") designation from MSDSI, which is needed to qualify for welfare disability assistance.
- Has created a library of useful help sheets about disability assistance from MSDSI, and guides to applications and appeals (Website)
First United Church
- Serves the Downtown Eastside. Provides advocacy and assistance for welfare, housing, and other poverty law issues. Operates a drop-in intake clinic. Hours are posted on their website.
Kettle Friendship Society Advocacy Centre
- Advocacy focused on welfare, debt, housing, and child protection problems for clients with mental health issues. Also has a weekly Pro Bono Legal Clinic (please call ahead if you wish to refer a client).
Downtown Eastside Women's Centre
- Focuses on providing legal and non-legal support and advocacy for women with mental health issues.
ATIRA Women's Resource Society
- Focuses on providing support for abused women. Their legal advocate program can provide advice, advocacy, and support with appealing welfare issues, and other poverty law issues.
AIDS Vancouver Community Resource Centre
- Service staffed by volunteers. Can provide short-term financial assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Povnet: Find an Advocate
- Can be used to find other advocates and organization that can help with welfare issues in all parts of BC.
C. Useful Publications by Outside Agencies
In addition to this LSLAP manual chapter, other useful publications include:
- BC Disability Benefits Help Sheets. These 15 guides are published by Disability Alliance BC. They are available at http://disabilityalliancebc.org/category/publications/bc-disability-benefits-guides/ and cover many areas relating to applying for benefits and appealing decisions.
- Legal Services Society Help Guides, the Legal Services Society has published several plain language guides for welfare applicants. They are available at http://www.lss.bc.ca/publications/subject.php?sub=17.
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