Contents



Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Fraud and Sanctions

The BC Employment and Assistance Program is designed to assist British Columbians in moving from income assistance to sustainable employment, and to provide income assistance to individuals and families in need.

To ensure that assistance goes to those most in need, complete and accurate information must be provided to the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.

What is fraud?

"Fraud" means receiving assistance as a result of providing information that a person knows is false or misleading.

BC Employment and Assistance Legislation

Persons who knowingly provide false or misleading information may:

  • be required to repay assistance received for which they were not eligible;
  • face civil court proceedings to recover the assistance; or
  • be charged with income assistance fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada or BC Employment and Assistance legislation.*

* This phrase refers to the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.

What can happen next?

If there is a conviction for a criminal offence, a person:

  • will be sanctioned by the ministry;
  • may end up with a criminal record; and/or
  • will be required to repay the assistance.

If the Ministry obtains a civil court repayment order or the person signs an acknowledgement form, the individual:

  • may be sanctioned by the ministry; and/or
  • will be required to repay the assistance.

What kind of sanction can be applied?

A sanction may be applied as either ineligibility for assistance or reduced assistance, both for prescribed periods of time.

How is the form of sanction determined?

The form of the sanction depends on whether or not anyone else in the person’s family is also sanctioned for fraud. This means that:

  • a single person would be ineligible for assistance,
  • a couple without dependent children where both persons are sanctioned for fraud would be ineligible for assistance;
  • a couple without dependent children where only one person is sanctioned would have their assistance reduced; and/or
  • a family with dependent children would have their assistance reduced.

How long does a sanction last?

If a person is convicted under the Criminal Code, the sanction will be applied for life.

If a person is convicted under the BC Employment and Assistance legislation, the sanction will be applied for 12 months for the first conviction, 24 months for a second conviction and life for a third conviction.

If the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation obtains a civil court order or a person signs an acknowledgement form, a sanction may be applied for three months for the first occurrence, six months for a second occurrence and 12 months for each additional occurrence.

How much would the reduction be?

Under BC Employment and Assistance regulations, if a reduction is applied, it will be:

  • $100 a month for a single parent;
  • $100 a month for a couple with dependent children if only one parent is sanctioned;
  • $200 a month for a couple with dependent children if both parents are sanctioned; or
  • $300 a month for a couple without dependent children if only one of them is sanctioned.

Can a decision to apply a sanction be appealed?

If there is a conviction in court under the Criminal Code of Canada or BC Employment and Assistance Legislation, a person cannot appeal the application of a sanction.

If there is a civil court repayment order given or an admission in writing, a person may appeal the decision to impose a sanction to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal.

Can the form or amount of a sanction be appealed?

The form and amount of a sanction is set out under BC Employment and Assistance regulation, therefore, they cannot be appealed to the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal.

For More Information

Contact the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation by calling toll-free:

1 866-866-0800