Column: Single-parent initiative

With September now upon us, many families in our community are busy going back to school.

With September now upon us, many families in our community are busy going back to school. While going back to school can be exciting for students, it can be costly for parents, particularly for single parents on income and disability assistance.

To help single parents on income and disability assistance get long-term, sustainable employment, our government has launched the Single Parent Employment Initiative.

More than 16,000 single parents on income and disability assistance will have access to funding. Supports can include up to 12 months of funded training for an in-demand job, or a paid work experience placement, child care costs during training or work placement and for the first year of employment. Public transit costs to and from school and a wide range of WorkBC Employment Services Centre services such as workshops on resume writing and interview preparation.

As well, through recent changes to our government’s income assistance program, families on income assistance and disability are eligible for increased earnings exemption (from $200 to $400 per month, or $300 to $500 per month for individuals with a child with disabilities) and supplemental health coverage for a year after they leave income assistance for employment.

We want all British Columbians to have the skills they need to be able to care for their families with well-paying, family-supporting jobs. This initiative will help provide single parents on income and disability assistance by providing them with the supports they need to access education and training so they can secure meaningful employment and participate in our strong, growing and diverse economy.

To learn more about Single Parent Employment Initiative, visit, www.sdsi.gov.bc.ca/programs/spei.html. Here in Williams Lake, single parents can visit the WorkBC office at 281 First Avenue North. A WorkBC case manager will provide an employment assessment to determine eligibility for supports and services needed to secure long-term work.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and the Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.