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Social development

Social Development Director



(780) 532-3009  Fax: (780) 532-3339

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Income Support Program - Alberta Region

The desired outcome of the Income Assistance Program is an improved quality of life through the alleviation of poverty and hardship on reserve, so that Income Assistance clients are employable and able to secure and/or maintain attachment to the workforce.


1.1 Authority, Objectives and Principles

As a program of last resort, the purpose of the Income Assistance program is to:

• Support the basic and special needs of indigent residents of First Nations reserves and their dependents; and

• Support access to services to help clients transition to and remain in the workforce.

The desired outcome of the Income Assistance Program is an improved quality of life through the alleviation of poverty and hard- ship on reserve, so that Income Assistance clients are employable and able to secure and/or maintain attachment to the workforce.


1.1.1 Authority

Section 88 of the Indian Act states: “Subject to the terms of any Treaty and any other Act of Parliament, all laws of general application from time to time in force in any province are applicable to and in respect of Indians in the province, except to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with this Act or the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act, or with any order, rule, regulation or law of a Band made under those Acts, and except to the extent that those provincial laws make provision for any matter for which provision is made by or under those Acts.”

Income Assistance falls under the jurisdiction of the Provinces based on Section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Accordingly, under section 88 of the Indian Act, First Nations persons on-reserve fall under the Income Assistance legislation of the reference province or territory as these are laws of general application. It is, therefore, a matter of policy rather than as a Statutory or Treaty obligation that the Government of Canada provides Income Assistance to First Nations and other residents living on reserve.

Federal Government spending authorities are specified by the Federal Government Treasury Board Terms and Conditions. The Terms and Conditions in the current Treasury Board Income Support spending authority state in part:

Grant and contribution funding for Income Assistance, is targeted to clients/beneficiaries who are ordinarily resident on reserve or who, for the purposes of these programs, are deemed to be ordinarily resident on reserve.

Grants and contributions to eligible recipients under the Income Assistance program are intended to provide financial assistance to low-income on reserve residents to support their basic and special needs and to help them become more self-reliant, in alignment with the rate schedule and eligibility criteria of the reference province/territory.


Performance indicators that apply to Income Assistance can be found in the Social Development Programs Performance Measurement Strategy. These programs contribute to one or more of the following expected outcomes:

1. Eligible men, women and children’s basic and special needs are met.

2. Men, women and children are safe.

3. Men and women are employable and able to become and/or remain attached to

the workforce.

These outcomes are directly aligned with the program activity and sub activities in the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development’s (DIAND’s) Program Activity Architecture. These programs fall under the “People” strategic outcome, the long-term objective of which is contributing to the “Individual, family and community well-being for First Nations and Inuit”.


1.1.2 Objectives

The Income Assistance program provides funding to assist eligible individuals and families who are ordinarily resident on reserve with: basic needs, special needs, and employment and pre-employment measures designed to increase self-reliance, to improve life skills and to promote greater attachment to the work force. The expected outcome of the Income Assistance program is an improved quality of life through the reduction of poverty and hardship on reserve and improved participation in and attachment to the work force.


1.1.3 Principles

The key principles of the ISC Alberta Region Income Assistance Program are:

Supports ensure improved outcomes for clients. Benefits and services focus on assisting clients and their families participate successfully in the workforce, and to have sustainable employment, to the greatest extent possible given the individual’s situation.

• Supports are based on what people need. Income Assistance benefits provided to clients and their families are based on an assessment of that person’s individual and family situation, and are responsive to the client’s unique needs.

• Supports encourage personal responsibility. Clients are supported to become independent through a cohesive system of employment and training initiatives, income supplementation.

• Supports assist in building Alberta’s workforce. The Income Assistance Program provides the financial supports and services that assist clients and their families to obtain successful and sustainable employment, thus ensuring that employers are able to fill their jobs with qualified people.

• Supports will protect people with long term needs. Clients with circumstances preventing or severely limiting their capacity to support themselves continue to receive Income Assistance benefits.

• Supports will be fiscally responsible and sustainable. The Issuing Authority will always attempt to find the best value alternative to ensure the Income Assistance Program’s long term sustainability.

• Recognition of client rights. Recognition that clients are honest, trustworthy, and accountable. Every individual or family, when need has been established, has a right to assistance in accordance with policy. Clients are deserving of the right to autonomy, dignity and personal choice. Clients have the right and responsibility to manage their own affairs to the highest extent possible in their individual circumstances.

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