Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians found it very difficult to fend for themselves and their families. The pandemic has made it much worse, with most people losing their jobs, making survival in a very expensive country extremely difficult.
As a means to support citizens, the Canadian government has a welfare program designed to aid people with little to no income or who savings who qualify. So, what is the welfare program, and how do you access it?
What is the Welfare Program?
The welfare program is a multi-billion dollar system founded by the Canadian government to support Canadians dealing with various societal needs.
The welfare program includes Social Assistance, the Canada Child Tax Benefit, Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, Employment Insurance, the Canada and Quebec Pension Plan, Workers’ Compensation, public education, medicare, social housing, and social services. And all these programs are funded and executed by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
Social assistance is usually the last resort for people who have exhausted all other means of getting financial support. Every province in Canada has its social assistance program, and each program has different terms and conditions. Also, their eligibility criteria, benefit levels, and provision on unique types of assistance differ.
Although each program across every province in Canada has varying specifics, their primary social assistance structure is similar. In every territory, welfare eligibility is determined based on the need test.
The need test evaluated a household’s financial assets and income. The result of the test is what will determine the level of assistance the family will get.
Welfare Eligibility Requirement
Below are some of the requirements you need to meet to qualify for welfare in Canada:
- Official name
- Your official date of birth
- Meet the two-year independence rule
- Be 19 years old or above
- Status in Canada – this includes the date you came to Canada (applicable to non-Canadians)
- Income limits
- The total amount you pay for accommodation
- Meet ministry rules about assets
- The total amount of household income
- Asset limits
- Have a low enough income
- The total amount for specialized expenses for a child with a disability (if applicable)
- Meet immigration rules
- The total amount for disability-related work expenses (if applicable)
- Employment details – for family members with jobs
- The total amount of your assets
- Details on other assets
- The total amount for child care expenses (if applicable)
Applying for Welfare in Canada
There are three ways of applying for welfare in Canada, they are:
You can apply for welfare online via the My Self Serve portal. Click on the link and create a My Self Serve account if you don’t have one. You will need
- An email address
- Your social insurance number
- Details about your spouse
It is crucial to state the following if you are applying online:
- If you are leaving abuse (domestic violence)
- Have immediate need
Ensure to answer all questions about you, your household unit, and your finances. You can upload supporting documents to back up your claims. To complete your application process, you will need a four-digit pin to sign and submit your application.
This pin is sent to you when you create your My Self Serve Account. Once this is done, you will receive a copy of your completed application to the email you provided.
You can apply for welfare in person by going to a ministry office. A worker will attend to you and get all the necessary information needed to facilitate your application. You will be given an appointment time to meet with a ministry worker in person. There, the worker will fill out the application for welfare with you.
- Over the phone
You can contact the ministry by phone to apply for welfare at no cost. Simply visit your provincial government website to find the right phone number.
Note that you may have to stay on the line for as long as an hour before a rep finally picks up.
Once you are on to a worker, the worker will get the essential details from you to aid your application process. You will receive a call back from a worker within three business days, usually between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. This call is to help you fill out the application for welfare.
Once this is done, the worker will give you a number – this number is an application service number. It is an identification number that you will use to access your application in person.
You will have to visit a physical office within five business days after the phone application to sign and complete your application form. Remember to request a signed application form for your records.
Provincial Application Links
Depending on your province in Canada, you can use the following links to apply for welfare in Canada:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Applying for welfare in Canada is a seamless process. All the available methods have been simplified to make the application process easy for applicants. If you’re considering applying for welfare in Canada, you can pick the most most-suitable for you out of the three methods mentioned above.