NLIS 42
March 27, 2003
(Human Resources and Employment)

 

BACKGROUNDER
HRE initiatives to support low income families in 2002-03

An increase in the Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit and the expansion of the Support Applications Program are the latest initiatives of the Department of Human Resources and Employmentís ongoing priority to improve supports for families with children. Over the last fiscal year, HRE has implemented a number of programs, services and policies to better meet the needs of families in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • In 2002 the department revised the outdated Social Assistance Act from 1977 with the passage in the House of Assembly of the Income and Employment Support Act. The legislation reflects more accurately the new directions and objectives of programs and services pursued by the department in recent years. The holistic approach of combining income support with employment and career services to assist people in preparing for and maintaining employment is now, for the first time, outlined in legislation. Proclamation of the act will occur following the revision of the associated policies and regulations.

  • Fall 2002 saw changes in the Income Support Programís regulations including:
  • Standardized definition of "relative" which replaced three different definitions to ensure a greater consistency in determining the supports to which a client is entitled and the increase of benefits to some families.
  • Clients will be able to retain RRSPs up to $10,000 during the first 90 consecutive days in receipt of assistance so that those in need of Income Support will not have to jeopardize future financial security because of a short-term employment or financial crisis.
  • Simplification of the income support eligibility rules to make the assessment process for qualifying for assistance more equitable and less cumbersome for clients in terms of paper work.
  • In November 2002, HRE announced the redesign of the Newfoundland and Labrador Work Information Network Website. It provides information about the labour market, career planning and job opportunities targeted to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador at  www.gov.nl.ca/nlwin.

  • Human Resources and Employment continued to support people making the transition to employment through innovative employment programs delivered in partnership with community agencies. Programs such as NewfoundlandJOBS and the Linkages Youth Employment Program focus on the link between social and economic development.

  • Under the Employability Assistance Program for People with Disabilities (EAPD) Agreement, the department provided $6.6 million, cost-shared with the Government of Canada, to help people with disabilities enter the labour market. These services have assisted more than 1,400 clients.

Other recent initiatives from HRE include:

  • Extended drug card benefits, increased earnings exemptions and increased private child care rates are now part of the redesigned Income Support program.
  • A $45 monthly Mother-Baby Nutrition Supplement to assist low income pregnant women and families with children under one year with the costs of healthy nutrition during the crucial period of early development.
  • A provision for support trusts to be established by families on behalf of adults with disabilities, without reducing their Income Support benefits and the level of related benefits and services.
  • Measures to improve the responsiveness of the Income Support program to persons who are victims of violence, including the piloting of a start-up allowance to assist with the establishment of a new household.

Media contact: Simon N. Lono, Communications, (709) 729-4062

2003 03 27                                        4:25 p.m.


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