Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Work Search Guidelines

The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation is committed to assisting employable clients find and keep jobs.

Unless you have already completed a work search or are exempt (see below) from a work search, you are required (prior to being eligible for income, hardship or disability assistance) to complete a work search for:

  • five weeks if you have never received income or disability assistance before
  • three weeks if you have previously received income or disability assistance

You are exempt from this requirement if:

  • you are fleeing an abusive spouse or relative
  • you are a single parent with a child under the age of three
  • have a physical or mental condition that precludes you from completing a search for employment (i.e., incapacitated due to the nature of medical treatment, incapacitated in hospital, late stages of terminal illness or pregnancy)
  • any person in the family unit is a person with disabilities (PWD)
  • you cannot legally work in Canada (e.g., the applicant is a person seeking refugee protection status and does not have a work permit)
  • you have reached 65 years of age or are applying for medical services only
  • you are in a hospital or continuing care facility and are receiving a comforts allowance and need to apply for regular assistance because you are leaving the facility

Ask an employment and assistance worker for details, or find out more.

If you are not exempt, this information sheet will help you to conduct an effective search for employment.

Reasonable Work Search

The ministry has expectations on how a reasonable work search is conducted.

Reasonable efforts are demonstrated by the preparation and distribution of an up-to-date resume (see the Independent Work Search Toolkit for some helpful hints) and the provision of a completed Work Search Activities Record. Copies can be obtained from a worker or online.

Your record should indicate regular and ongoing attempts to secure employment not restricted to a particular job or wage range.

Examples of effective job-search activities include phone inquiries, searching online, fact finding interviews, cold calling and submitting job applications.

Work Search Tips

There are many resources available at WorkBC Employment Services Centres to help in your work search. These services are available to all unemployed British Columbians who are eligible to work in B.C.

Visit these websites at your local library or job search service providers:

Or call:

  • Victoria: 250 952-6914
    Toll Free: 1 877 952-691
    Fax: 250 387-5329
  • Enquiry BC: Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD)
    Vancouver: 604 775-0303
    Elsewhere in B.C.: 1 800 661-8773

Each centre works to ensure that everyone—including immigrants, youth, Aboriginal Peoples, Francophones, persons with disabilities and people living in rural and remote areas—has access to the same supports and services no matter where they live in the province, so they can get back to work quickly.

Returning to the Ministry

If you return to the ministry following your work search, you will need to bring your resume and a completed Work Search Activities Record and be prepared to discuss the following:

  • what methods you have been using to find work
  • what kinds of work you have been looking for
  • what employers you have met with recently (employers may be contacted)
  • what future job interviews you have scheduled
  • what internet sites you have been using to search for work
  • your use of any of the following in your work search: local employment agencies, WorkBC, community skills centres, university/college libraries and job placement offices, chambers of commerce, local union halls, seasonal employment offices, friends, family, neighbours, teachers, former employers and co-workers
  • You will also need to provide the following:
  • identification documents
  • shelter documents
  • income and assets documents
  • work related documents

This information may be checked and verified by ministry staff to determine eligibility. Please note that all members in the family unit may be subject to these requirements.

Did You Know?

  • The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, with funding from the federal government invests $331 million dollars annually in employment services and apprenticeship training through the Employment Program of BC.
  • Our services range from life skills and pre-employment through to job search and job placement and are delivered by contracted employment agencies in communities throughout the province.
  • People who leave income assistance for work earn, on average, two to three times the income assistance rate.

BC Employment and Assistance Orientation

The Self-Serve Assessment and Application Tool includes an orientation on the BC Employment and Assistance Program.

Details are also available at a Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation office by calling toll-free: 1 866 866-0800