The following statement was issued today by Joan Burke, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. It was also read in the House of Assembly:
I would like to inform all members of the proclamation of the new Income and Employment Support Act and the accompanying Income and Employment Support Regulations.
The act and regulations replace the outdated Social Assistance Act and Regulations which have been in effect since 1977.
The new act better reflects the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employmentís two major areas of responsibility: providing income support in a stable dignified manner to eligible individuals and families; and delivering programs and services that support individuals in achieving their employment and career goals.
The act and regulations were developed after an extensive consultation process with clients, advocacy groups, community partners, departmental staff and other government departments. I would like to thank all those who took part in this process in developing the act and regulations, including the former administration for initial work in drafting the act and passing it here in the House of Assembly. The act and regulations are the result of much thoughtful debate and input.
The act and regulations use plain language with a focus on transparency and include clear explanations of the departmentís purposes and service principles. Key provisions include regular rate reviews and legislative reviews, time frames for internal reviews and investigations and the ability to use income support funds for employment supports.
This government has made a commitment to be open and accountable. Clients, community agencies and advocates can easily access the act and regulations. Both will be available on our Web site or in print. We have also developed a series of print materials on our programs and services which will be available at all of our offices or by mail. This is a major step forward in transparency and accountability for the department. Most importantly these materials clearly inform clients of departmental service standards, and of programs and supports to which they may be entitled.
In addition, the act introduces regular rate reviews every three years and legislative reviews every five years ensuring income and employment supports and services for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador remain current.
The Income and Employment Support Act and Regulations help further this governmentís commitment to providing basic financial supports to those who need them. It also provides the legal framework to assist people in gaining independence by addressing and overcoming employment challenges.
Iím sure my colleagues will agree this is a significant milestone for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
2004 12 07 3:45 p.m.