March 27, 2003
(Human Resources and Employment)
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outdated Social Assistance Act from 1977 with the passage in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
- 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,