|2002/03 Annual Service
Ministry of Human Resources
is a pleasure to submit the Annual Service Plan Report for the Ministry
of Human Resources for the 2002/03 fiscal year.
It was a year of significant progress for the ministry, including
the passage of comprehensive employment and assistance legislation.
The legislation has resulted in a sustainable, accountable system
that provides assistance to those most in need, while helping people
who are able to work find employment. The Employment and Assistance
for Persons with Disabilities Act was implemented in September
2002 to recognize the needs of people with disabilities, many of
whom want to work but may require additional support.
The ministry introduced the Employment Strategy for Persons with
Disabilities, including a Minister's Council that has brought together
leaders from government, communities, business, education and training
to seek ways to create more opportunities in the workplace. The
ministry increased funding for employment programs for people with
disabilities by $11 million to $24 million. The monthly earnings
exemption for persons with disabilities was increased from $200
to $300 to encourage part-time employment. Persons with disabilities
who were not able to work continued to receive the highest income
assistance rates available from the ministry — the third highest
rates in Canada.
Most ministry clients are able to work and want to become self-reliant.
Under the new Employment and Assistance Act, the ministry
invested a further $100 million in programs to support clients'
efforts toward independence. New results-based job placement and
job training programs supported more than 12,000 people in their
efforts to move from welfare to work.
The results of these changes are positive: during the fiscal year,
the number of people receiving income assistance was reduced by
over 60,000 clients. Ministry surveys of clients who left income
assistance showed that most left for employment and earned, on average,
nearly three times what they would have received on welfare. This
finding was based on a ministry survey of former income assistance
clients who remained independent for at least six months.
This is good news for individuals, families, and communities throughout
B.C. The ministry's achievements support the government's plan for
a strong, vibrant provincial economy, a supportive social fabric,
and positive new directions in the lives of thousands of British Columbians.
None of these achievements would have been possible without the
contributions of ministry staff. I thank them for their outstanding
work during a year of transition, and for their ongoing commitment
to quality service.