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The Best Place on Earth


For Immediate Release

October 19, 2009

Ministry of Housing and Social Development





VICTORIA – The provincial government will restrict access to income assistance and disability assistance for people with outstanding indictable arrest warrants in B.C. and other provinces, as well as arrest warrants under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).


Indictable offences are the most serious types of offences and include a wide range of crimes such as assault, breaking and entering, drug trafficking, murder, assault with a weapon, and assault causing bodily harm.


“Our intention is to ensure those charged with indictable offences take personal responsibility and resolve the serious charges against them before being provided social assistance in this province,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development. “Our government is committed to providing assistance to people most in need, and we do not tolerate any abuse of the system.”


Exceptions will be made for dependent children and highly vulnerable people, such as those who are pregnant or who are in the last stages of life.


If an adult in a family has a warrant, the family is still eligible for assistance, but assistance will only be paid for the family members who do not have a warrant. No assistance will be paid to the warrant holder.


This amendment will help ensure social assistance goes to those most in need and to ensure we are fiscally accountable to B.C. taxpayers,” Coleman concluded.


The proposed amendment is expected to be in place by early 2010.





Seumas Gordon

Media Relations Officer

Ministry of Housing and Social Development

250 387-6490



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