(Archive copy for historical purposes only)

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Business Persons, Farmers and Self-Employed Persons


No special eligibility requirements.

Prince Edward Island

Where a self-employed person is able to demonstrate that he is in need, assistance may be granted to that person for up to four months.  The continuation of such assistance is contingent upon an assessment of the future economic viability of his business or activity, conducted by an agency or organization designated by the Director having expertise and experience in completing such assessments.    Regulation 7(12,13); Policy 13-4-8 - see also section 3.3

Nova Scotia - Provincial

No specific provisions concerning eligibility requirements.

Nova Scotia - Municipal

Self-employed applicants are not normally eligible for Municipal Social Assistance. In Halifax, however, assistance may be granted (for one month for basic needs or for a single issue of emergency assistance) to self-employed persons applying for assistance who can demonstrate that:

a) they have not had sufficient income to meet their basic needs;

b) they have tried all other possible resources; and

c) they are prepared to sign an affidavit that within one month they will either be self-sufficient in their business or have terminated their self-employment and be actively seeking full-time permanent employment.    Procedure

New Brunswick


No special eligibility requirements; see section 3.3 concerning income.


Any self-employed person who is a person in need may apply for assistance under the Family Benefits Act; for (municipal) General Assistance purposes, the self-employed person must be unemployable (see section 2.8) or the head of a single parent family.    GWA Regulation 1(9)

As a condition of eligibility for General Assistance, a self-employed person must be willing to undertake any other employment of which he or she is physically capable that would increase his or her income from employment and is making reasonable efforts to secure such employment.   GWA Regulation 4(1)(b)

The requirements in the preceding paragraph may be waived where the person must remain at home for substantial periods of time to give personal care and supervision to one dependent child or more provided that

a) the person is the only adult in the household able to give adequate personal care and supervision;

b) no alternate or adequate child care service is available or appropriate; and

c) the person is prevented from obtaining more remunerative employment because of the time required to give personal care and supervision to the child or children.    GWA Regulation 4(1.1)

Manitoba - Provincial

A social allowance applicant who maintains his or her own business and does not have associated equity may be granted assistance without Ministerial approval.  It may be logical, however, to direct the applicant to a more remunerative type of earning situation.    Policy E3-21-01

A person who operates his own business and maintains any position of business equity (i.e. business premises, equipment, stock, etc.) may be granted assistance only in the most exceptional circumstances.  A time limit on enrolment would be set by the Minister's designate and only in such a case would the equipment essential to a business operation be excluded from the calculation of resources.

Manitoba - Municipal

People who are self-employed or involved in commission sales may be provided with assistance if the employment or business is viable and if it represents a greater opportunity for self-support than regular salaried employment.  In every instance, the applicant or recipient must provide sufficient information and documentation to demonstrate the viability of the work or business.   Policy p.42


Persons who are self-employed (including farmers) may receive social assistance benefits to meet basic living costs.  No assistance will be issued for operating costs or to add to the value of the business or the farm.    Policy 18-1-5


Supports for Independence (SFI) may be granted to a maximum of 12 months if a viability assessment indicates that a farm operation or business is viable.  Following one month of assistance, SFI is only granted when:

- a thorough assessment of the farm or business operation has indicated that the operation has potential viability, and

- all appropriate resources have been utilized (e.g., farm or business loans, district agriculturist, Dept. of Economic Development and Tourism). Policy 02-03-02

Self-employed persons and farmers receive a maximum of one year's asset exemption, to give their business a chance to become viable.  If the business or farm operation does not make them independent during this period, the client is placed in the appropriate category (see section 2.1) that reflects the expectation to seek other work. Business or farm assets may be exempted for two periods of six months to give the client time to deal with excess assets (not to continue the business or farm operation) where there is no viability.

Policy 02-03-02

British Columbia

The Income Assistance program is not designed to assist persons who are self-employed in small businesses or commissioned sales work.   Policy 3.14.4

However, applications from such persons are processed in accordance with established GAIN policies, including consideration of such items as inventory and accounts receivable where payment is expected.  In cases where the applicant is found to be ineligible, but hardship exists, the person may be assisted under Hardship Assistance (see section 5.2.10 "l"); in determining actual shelter needs, shelter costs must relate only to the place of residence, not the place of business.    Policy 3.14.4


Northwest Territories

No specific provision made.

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