Social assistance

Forum of Labour Market Ministers' Senior Officials – Best Practices Session

SRDC was responsible for organizing a half-day session to share innovative approaches, lessons learned, and research and evaluation on labour market programs and service delivery strategies. It featured presentations from a number of jurisdictions on recent projects and initiatives to identify best practices, improve program effectiveness, and foster innovation. SRDC staff presented on three SRDC projects in this area, teaming up with provincial Senior Officials who provided context on how the projects respond to their respective program and policy objectives. SRDC was also responsible for producing an Event Report summarizing the discussion.

Start-end date: September 2016 - September 2016
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Income Support in Relation to Housing in Canada and Selected Other Countries

To support the Government of Canada in developing a national housing strategy, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation engaged SRDC to research the relationship between social assistance and housing/shelter benefits, both across Canada and internationally. SRDC conducted a literature review and environmental scan of related policy instruments in all 13 P/Ts and in six other OECD countries. The comparative analyses also include policy trends and promising practices.

Start-end date: July 2016 - September 2016
Sponsor: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Personal income information for disabilities assistance recipients

This project develops a state-of-the-art income calculator website for British Columbians receiving disability assistance (PWDs) and trains employment services centre case managers in its use. The site is designed to improve access to accurate income information for PWDs, including (a) income estimations for specific job opportunities and (b) a personal account where they can keep track of their earning exemption totals and see the effect that earnings have on their Disability Assistance payments. Case managers introduce their PWD clients to the tool and help them to enter the required information. The project aims to improve clients’ understanding of the effect that earnings and moving in and out of work will have on their Disability Assistance Benefits and overall income. It should raise their confidence in the financial consequences of their employment decisions and reduce financial apprehension when moving into employment. The project is designed as an experimental demonstration to quantify the impact of implementation of the Income Calculator on PWDs’ financial security, their willingness and motivation to seek employment opportunities, and improvements in their medium-to long-term employment outcomes.

Start-end date: February 2016 - January 2019
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) Transformation Project

SRDC has partnered with Davis Pier Consulting to support a project to transform the Employment Support and Income Assistance system in Nova Scotia. A key component of the project is the development of a client segmentation approach to service delivery that will help the government design and implement targeted interventions to serve clients according to their labour market needs. SRDC is designing this client segmentation model, including both analysis of client and outcome data and the development of criteria/assessment tools to support the model. SRDC is also contributing to the design of targeted interventions to best serve ESIA clients according to their needs.

Start-end date: January 2016 - December 2016
Sponsor: Nova Scotia Department of Community Services

Research on Low Income/Poverty and Adequacy Measures

The project reviews different measures of poverty / low income and assesses their relevance to social assistance in Ontario. An environmental scan explores the use of similar measures in comparable jurisdictions. A literature review examines: the methodological and policy-related aspects of poverty measurement; recent developments related to measures of material deprivation and social inclusion; and empirical studies on entrance to, persistence in, and exit from poverty.

Start-end date: June 2015 - November 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Social Assistance Rate Level(s) and Withdrawal Models

The project generated three products to inform the ongoing review of social assistance in Ontario. These include: a literature review on existing theoretical and empirical evidence from Canadian provinces and internationally on approaches to setting income assistance rates and withdrawal rates; an environmental scan of existing practices; and an options paper comprising a set of alternative future models for setting social assistance rates and withdrawal rates. All three consider the implications of different approaches for work incentives, fairness and adequacy.

Start-end date: June 2015 - December 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Incremental cost of living as a result of being a person with a disability in Ontario

SRDC conducted empirical research to estimate the incremental cost of living as a result of being a person with disability, relative to the cost of living experienced by non-disabled adults, for Ontario. This data analysis is based on a literature review of research (particularly in methodology development) on measuring the additional needs for people with disabilities; analysis of applicability of identified models to the Ontario context; and investigation of internal/external data available to estimate incremental cost of living for disabled people in Ontario. The final product is a report that (a) reviews the most commonly adopted methodologies in evaluating the additional direct costs incurred by people with a disability, including pros and cons of each method, (b) evaluates the robustness or applicability of each method using Canadian data, and (c) evaluates the potential additional cost of living for people with a spectrum of disabilities living in Ontario using the best currently available data.

Start-end date: June 2015 - December 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Inter-jurisdictional Analysis of Rate Setting Methods and Approaches

An inter-jurisdictional review and analysis of the rate structures of social assistance programs across Canada and selected OECD countries. The review looks at the underlying rationale behind social assistance rate policies and structures and government responses to economic crisis in adjusting rates or practices. The review covers different family/household types as well as rates and other allowances for persons with disabilities.

Start-end date: June 2015 - November 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Integrating Motivational Interviewing within Employment Services for BC Employment and Income Assistance Recipients

This project implements and tests an intervention that uses an innovative approach to engage and motivate income assistance (IA) clients using employment services in British Columbia to improve their work readiness and participation in the labour market. The project includes a rigorous evaluation of the proposed intervention randomizing both participants and case managers to the treatment, so that clear lessons for policy and practice can be learned and disseminated. This project is managed by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, a division of SRDC.

Start-end date: April 2015 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Episodic and Moderate Disabilities and Employment

This project identifies key characteristics of populations with episodic and moderate disabilities, and the nature of their respective attachments to the labour market. A literature review and environmental scan identify policies and practices that are supportive to the labour market participation of those with episodic disabilities, as well as barriers to work. Prevalence rates and indicators of labour market attachment are calculated based on the 2013 Canadian Survey on Disability, while trends in the receipt of income assistance among those with occasional work limitations are based on the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.

Start-end date: January 2014 - August 2014
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

Review of Employment and Training Programs

The purpose of this Program Review is to assist the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in developing an evidence-based framework for the potential integration and ongoing evaluation of employment and training programs. To achieve this SRDC uses a comprehensive approach including: environmental scan, review of program documents, extensive discussions with MTCU staff, analysis of existing state of knowledge reviews that SRDC has conducted, key informant interviews with other ministries, value for money techniques, stakeholder consultations, policy analysis, and program design. Based on findings from the review of in-scope programs and consultations with key stakeholders as well as an analysis of the existing research on effective and/or promising approaches to employment and training services, SRDC develops high level recommendations for a potential future state of the Ontario employment and training system.

Start-end date: December 2012 - December 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

The Motivational Interviewing Pilot Project (MIPP): Advancing Career Development Services for Income Assistance Clients

The evaluation of a promising intervention — called Motivational Interviewing (MI) — intended to help British Columbia social assistance recipients overcome any ambivalence that may be keeping them from making desired changes in their lives. The hypothesis under test is that MI will act as a catalyst for change moving from unemployment to employment. Outcomes for income assistance recipients streamed to receive MI are compared to outcomes from a randomly-assigned control group streamed not to receive MI.

Start-end date: May 2012 - March 2014
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Pay for Performance Project

SRDC collaborated with Workplace Education Manitoba (WEM) to explore ideas for experimenting with different performance-based funding (PBF) approaches for Essential Skills training. The project investigates the state of knowledge in PBF and identifies key lessons learned, opportunities, and promising directions. Building on promising directions, SRDC designs program model(s) for pilot testing in Manitoba and Nova Scotia and an evaluation to investigate the model(s) effects.

Start-end date: December 2011 - June 2012
Sponsor: Workplace Education Manitoba

Advancing Career Development Services for Income Assistance Clients: A Test of the Stages of Change and Motivational Interviewing Model in a Public Service Setting

To prepare a detailed design document to implement and test a novel and innovative approach to engage and motivate income assistance clients in Saskatchewan to improve their work readiness and participation in the labour market. The intervention builds on the Stages of Change Research Project that implemented a unique approach in the employment development field in Manitoba. The project also involves designing and implementing a rigorous research approach to explore and measure the results of the proposed intervention.

Start-end date: September 2011 - November 2011
Sponsor: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Evaluation of the Immigrant Bundle of the BC Employment Program

A process evaluation of an employment program targeted for immigrants and refugees who are permanent residents and in receipt of income assistance to learn about effective practices and outcomes for the clients.

Start-end date: February 2010 - September 2010
Sponsor: B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development

Literature Review for the Evaluation of Income Assistance for First Nations Individuals and Families on Reserve

Start-end date: July 2007 - October 2007
Sponsor: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Audit and Evaluation

City of Vancouver Four Pillars Supported Employment Pilot Project

A project designed to provide long-term unemployed individuals with past addictions with a supported and gradual return to employment. The evaluation involves case studies of four participants and their experience with the program from start to end.

Start-end date: May 2007 - December 2007
Sponsor: City of Vancouver, Social Planning Department, Jobs Policy

Case Coordination Project in Downtown Eastside Vancouver

An evaluation of a three-year demonstration project delivering a multi-component employment-related intervention designed for long-term welfare recipients living in one of the most disadvantaged urban areas in Canada. Many of the program participants had issues with housing, addictions, health (both physical and mental), income, and coping. The service delivery network comprised six non-profit organizations, including an Aboriginal organization helping Aboriginals residing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Almost half of the program participants were Aboriginal people.

Start-end date: December 2004 - February 2008
Sponsor: City of Vancouver (Vancouver Agreement) Employment Programs

Technical assistance for the development of the Action Emploi program

Using results from the Self-Sufficiency Project to provide insights in the development of a new program to accelerate the labour market integration of long-term welfare recipients.

Start-end date: January 2001 - January 2001
Sponsor: Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale du Québec

Review of the Coherence of Income Security Programs in New Brunswick

An analysis of options to improve the effectiveness of New Brunswick income security programs and related services for the non-elderly population by identifying specific aspects of the present income security system that can be improved to produce a more integrated and effective model of income and employment support.

Start-end date: January 2001 - March 2001
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

BC Job Partnership Pilot Project

A formative evaluation of a British Columbia welfare-to-work pilot project that used third-party labour market intermediary organizations to facilitate and support the employment of income assistance recipients.

Start-end date: December 2000 - March 2001
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security

Technical assistance on the costs and benefits of “work first” welfare-to-work programs

Start-end date: August 1999 - October 1999
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security

Community Employment Innovation Project

The evaluation of a multi-year demonstration project that tested the impact on individuals and their communities of an alternative form of income transfer for the unemployed with the aim to increase their employment prospects while simultaneously strengthening the capacity of local communities.

Start-end date: January 1999 - March 2008
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada and Nova Scotia Department of Community Services
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Self-Sufficiency Project

A randomized experiment that involved over 9,000 single-parent long-term welfare recipients from New Brunswick and British Columbia to test a “make work pay” strategy to support the transition from welfare to work.

Start-end date: February 1992 - March 2006
Sponsor: Human Resources and Social Development Canada
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