Common QuestionsHow is welfare different on and off reserve?
Welfare, also known as income assistance or social assistance, is money and other benefits for people who need financial help and have no other reasonable way of getting money. Welfare for people living on reserve comes from the government of Canada through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Assistance for people living off reserve in BC comes from the BC provincial government through the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance. INAC tries to make its social assistance rules on reserve the same as those off reserve in each province. However, some social assistance services and benefits are different on and off reserve.
Good starting points include:
- Social Assistance on Reserve in British Columbia, from the Legal Services Society, explains what you need to know about social assistance benefits on reserve. This booklet explains how social assistance on reserve is different from assistance off reserve, how to get social assistance on reserve, what applicants can do if turned down, and how to get more information or help.
- Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance, from the Legal Services Society, has information about welfare for people off reserve.
- Aboriginal People and the Law in British Columbia, from the Legal Services Society, is a guide for legal advocates about Aboriginal issues including welfare. The chapter "Social Assistance" provides on reserve/off reserve information.
- welfare, income assistance, social assistance, living on reserve, off reserve