WorkBC improvements help people get training and find good jobs, says Province

Shane Simpson
Shane Simpson

CHANGES to WorkBC will offer better services for people who need support to re-enter the workforce, access training opportunities and find good jobs.

“Many people trying to find work face barriers to opportunity. They need a hand overcoming those barriers to take the next step to meet their goals,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, on WEdnesday. “That’s why we are refocusing WorkBC on delivering results for people. Improving accessibility and moving to more personalized supports will make it easier for more people to find good, stable jobs so they can provide for themselves and their families.”

WorkBC provides employment services to people at centres throughout the province and online through WorkBC.ca. People can find local and provincial job listings, workshops, skills assessments and targeted programs that include training, work experience and wage subsidies.

Service improvements under the new model include:

* increasing the number of WorkBC centres to 103 locations, up from 84;

* moving to an outcome-based funding model that makes people’s success in the job market a priority for service providers;

* extending eligibility for specialized WorkBC services to anyone who has paid into employment insurance (EI) for five of the last 10 years and removing EI eligibility barriers;

* helping people find a better job if their hours are unstable, or if the work is not in line with their skills;

* providing an additional $9 million in direct supports like skills training and helping people access tools so they can pursue a career in the trades; and

* improving services in rural communities by consolidating administrative catchment areas and freeing up funding for direct supports for people and more WorkBC centres.

WorkBC centres are operated by not-for-profit, for-profit and public organizations that specialize in employment services. More than 150 organizations deliver WorkBC services in B.C., supporting more than 50,000 people each year.

Improving access to training and employment services is a part of government’s work to reduce poverty and increase opportunities for people in B.C., and is a shared priority with the B.C. Green caucus and part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement. The Province’s first poverty reduction strategy will be introduced in early 2019.

In addition to the changes, two WorkBC programs will now be offered provincially, providing consistent, reliable services for people no matter where they live:

* The Neil Squire Society will deliver assistive technology services through a resource centre, in partnership with WorkBC centres and online. The program offers adaptive technology to people with disabilities to open up employment opportunities and help them thrive in the workplace.

* Douglas College will deliver apprentice services provincially. Services include processing financial support applications and help for apprentices to collect employment insurance benefits while in school.