The Income Assistance program provides funding to assist eligible individuals and families who are ordinarily resident on-reserve, with basic and special needs services that are aligned with the rates and eligibility criteria for off-reserve residents of the reference province or territory.
In general, AANDC provides funding to First Nations who, in turn, deliver Income Assistance programs and services to community members. In 2011-2012, 541 First Nations administered their own program (this figure does not include First Nations functioning under self-government arrangements that administer Income Assistance).
The program also funds the delivery of pre-employment measures designed to increase self-reliance, improve life skills and promote greater attachment to the work force. The Income Assistance program has four main components: basic needs, special needs, pre-employment supports, and service delivery. The expected outcome of the Income Assistance program is an improved quality of life through the reduction of poverty and hardship on-reserve, as well as improved participation in, and attachment to, the workforce.
For further information on the Income Assistance program in your community, contact the AANDC regional office nearest you.
Equipping First Nations people to fully participate in the economy is a priority for the Government of Canada and First Nations. That's why, through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government will work with First Nations to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to help ensure First Nation youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment.
The improved program has two elements that will help ensure that youth who are able to work have the incentives to participate in the training necessary for them to gain employment.
Enhanced Service Delivery will provide support to First Nation communities to create the service delivery capacity necessary to effectively support eligible youth as they participate in training and transition to employment.
As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the new First Nations Job Fund will fund a range of activities, including up to one year training leading to employment.
Communities that participate in this new approach will be required to implement mandatory participation in training for young Income Assistance clients. This approach will build on the success of pilot projects in parts of Canada like Saskatchewan and Alberta where we have been working with the provincial governments, First Nations and the private sector to link First Nations with the training they require to meet labour market needs.