Message from the Minister
and Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Claude RichmondAs Minister of Employment and Income Assistance, I am pleased to present the Service Plan for 2007/08 – 2009/10, outlining our goals and objectives over the next three years. Our government is strongly committed to providing a fair, caring and sustainable income assistance system for British Columbians most in need. This also means helping those who are on assistance, and able to work, find and keep jobs.

Our notable success in placing so many employable clients into the workforce has changed the Ministry's caseload significantly, both in number and composition. The present caseload is comprised largely of people who face greater challenges. Today, a full two-thirds of our clients are people with disabilities or multiple barriers to employment.

As a result of this shift in our caseload we must ensure that our programs and services continue to meet the needs of clients. We have, therefore, redesigned our training programs for 'expected to work' clients by launching the new BC Employment Program. This program provides clients with the all the individualized services they need to benefit from B.C.'s strong economy — and succeed. Clients are assisted to find and keep employment through job referrals, skills training, workshops and supervised, self-directed job searches.

For our more vulnerable clients we continue to provide the Community Assistance Program — revised to focus specifically on life skills and advocacy services to enhance the quality of life for these challenged individuals.

We also recognize that there are some people whose existence is so precarious that they may not be comfortable, or even able, to approach a Ministry office for assistance. To connect with this community we work in partnership with other ministries, municipalities and local agencies across the province to mount effective outreach programs. It is very important that we work, right at the street level, to link B.C.'s most vulnerable citizens with the supports and services that will make a real difference in their lives.

The Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance also has the cross government leadership role in developing a Provincial Disability Strategy. The Strategy is a key component in reaching our Third Great Goal for a Golden Decade — to build the best system of support in Canada for persons with disabilities, persons with special needs, children at risk, and seniors. During the upcoming year we will continue to consult with other ministries and the disability community to ensure our services and supports for people with disabilities are integrated, effective and, most importantly, citizen-centred. We want British Columbians with disabilities to be totally supported in all their endeavours, including the workplace.

I look forward to continuing to work with Ministry staff to achieve our goals and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of them for their hard work, tireless dedication and outstanding professionalism.

The Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance 2007/08 – 2009/10 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of January 31, 2007, have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.

Honourable Claude Richmond
Minister of Employment and Income Assistance

January 31, 2007

Balanced Budget 2007 Home. Next