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.

As part of this focus on employment, unless you are exempt, you are required to complete a work search prior to applying for assistance for:

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

Ask a worker for details, or find out more at:

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 at:

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:  1-877-952-6914
    Fax:  250-387-5329
  • Enquiry BC:  Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD)
    Vancouver:  604-775-0303
    Elsewhere in BC:  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, will invest $343.5 million in employment services and apprenticeship training in 2012/13.
  • 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. To access the Self-Serve Assessment and Application Tool, visit the ministry web site at:

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