Ministry 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
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2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report
Ministry of Human Resources

Photograph -- Honourable Murray Coell.It 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.

Murray Coell


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