(Archive copy for historical purposes only)

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(Single Person)


Single persons who are 18 and over may apply for Social Assistance in their own right. Any person who is between 16 and 18 may, under circumstances deemed to be necessitous and urgent, make application in his/her own right, provided that no natural parent or other person considered as being a guardian is available to make application on such a person's behalf. Act 2(a); Policy 112

Prince Edward Island

A single person is an adult person without dependents who is unmarried, widowed, deserted, separated or divorced and who is not living with another person as his or her spouse. Regulation 1(u)

A minor (under 18 years of age) may be eligible for assistance if, in the opinion of the Director, his home is found to be unsuitable for his care, training and development. However, it is not intended to relieve the parents of responsibility for his care and maintenance. To be eligible, a minor must be regularly attending a course of education or training at a technical, vocational or high school, or taking a correspondence course approved by the Department of Education, which has the goal of gainful employment, rehabilitation or self-support, or be prevented from the above by reason of physical or mental disability or other cause acceptable to the Director. Regulation 8(1,2), 1(p)

Nova Scotia - Provincial

No specific definition of "single person".

Nova Scotia - Municipal

Children between 16 and 19 years of age are not eligible for (Halifax) Municipal Social Assistance as they are the responsibility of their parents, except where the parents or guardians are deceased, incompetent or institutionalized, or where support is available but residence in the parental home is not in the best interest of the child, or where the child has a dependant and only limited parental support is available. Halifax Policy 1.1.4

New Brunswick

A person living with his family may be established as a separate unit, whether or not his family is in receipt of assistance, if the person is
i) 18 years of age or over and blind or disabled (see section 2.8), or
ii) 19 years of age or over and assessed as having low employment potential (see section 2.6). Regulation 4(6)
A person under 19 years of age may be established as a separate unit for the purpose of living outside the parental home where, after a social assessment, the parental home is found to be unsuitable for his care, training, and development. Regulation 4(7)


An adult is a person who is not a dependent child. Act 4

Any person 18 years of age or over is considered as a single person for the purpose of determining eligibility for social assistance, even if that person continues to reside in the household of his or her parent(s) and the parent(s) is (are) not eligible for social assistance. It should be noted that, as of August 1st 1989, a parental contribution may reduce the amount of the benefit payable to a person in that situation; for more information, please refer to section 3.5. Where the person is attending an educational institution, he/she is still considered a dependant (see definition in next section). Editorial Comment

Ontario - Provincial

A single person means an adult person who is a widow, widower, unmarried, deserted, separated or divorced, and who is not living with his or her spouse. Regulation 1(1)(c)

Ontario - Municipal

A single person means an unmarried adult, a widowed, separated or divorced person, but does not include a person:
a) who is head of a family;
b) who is an employable person under the age of 21 years, living with either his parents, or with a guardian; or
c) who is living with his or her spouse; or
d) who is an unemployable person under the age of 18 years living with either of his or her parents or with a guardian and who has applied for or whose eligibility for assistance is determined on or after the 1st day of July 1993. Regulation 1(1)
A person under the age of 18 is not eligible for assistance in his/her own right unless that person is a head of a family whose spouse is absent or where there are special circumstances that justify the assistance. Regulation 7(4)


Persons under 18 years of age are not eligible for assistance under the Social Allowances Act (including municipal assistance) in their own right except for foster children and, in special cases, single mothers. (see section 2.10) Act 1

The Winnipeg Municipal Assistance Policy Manual states that, as a general rule, the City does not provide assistance to persons under 18 years of age in their own right; such persons fall under the legal jurisdiction of the provincial Director of Child Welfare. Assistance may be granted in situations where a minor is living common-law with an adult and the couple has (or is expecting) a child; Child and Family Services must be notified in such cases, and the file must be transferred to the Winnipeg Social Services Department's Special Services Section. Policy p.37

A person must be 18 years of age or older to apply for assistance in his/her own right, as a rule. A single adult 18 years of age or over residing in the parental home and attending school may apply as a single person, but it is recommended that he/she continue on the family budget where the family is receiving social assistance. Policy 2-1-2

Where a youth is living apart from his family as a result of a family breakdown or rejection, whether or not he is attending school, the unit director or his designate may use his discretion in deciding whether to accept an application from the youth in his own right or an application from a guardian. The parents must be interviewed and should be asked to sign a statement indicating whether or not they are willing to support the youth. The refusal of the parents to sign the statement should not be grounds for refusing him assistance if he is in need. Policy 2-1-3


Persons who turn 18 years of age are no longer considered as dependants, and must be deleted from their parents' budget requirements at the end of the month in which their 18th birthday occurs. Act 1(c)
- See section 8.3 for definition of "dependant".

A person who is 16 or 17 years of age and requires repatriation within Alberta or to another province, or who has any Child Welfare Status, is not eligible for Supports for Independence (SFI). Any other 16 or 17 year-old person (including single persons, couples, single parents and pregnant women) is eligible only where Child Welfare Services has investigated the case and has recommended Supports for Independence benefits and where the applicant (and spouse, if applicable) meet all other eligibility criteria. SFI benefits are not issued during the Child Welfare investigation or pending the outcome of the investigation; Child Welfare Services will provide any assistance required during this period. SFI eligibility is established when Child Welfare determines the youth is not in need of protection and cannot return home, where the family and Child Welfare cannot make alternate arrangements for the youth, and where placing the child in the home of guardian is not a viable option. In addition to all other SFI eligibility criteria, the youth must be living in a stable shelter situation (preferably room and board), in full-time attendance at school (and making reasonable progress) or actively seeking employment if in school part-time or not attending school, or temporarily unavailable for work (e.g., health problems, last trimester of pregnancy).

Where it is established that independent living is in the best interest of the 16 or 17 year-old, the Child Welfare worker will advise the parents of their moral obligation to provide financial support for their child. However, the provincial Maintenance Order Act states that parents are financially responsible for their children only until they reach the age of 16 years.

Benefit levels which apply to 16 or 17 year-olds appear in section 5.2.9; all regular eligibility criteria apply to persons in this age group except that they qualify for the children's earnings exemption provision (see section 3.7) rather than the standard exemptions (see section 3.2) in determining their financial resources. Policy 02-05-08

British Columbia

All applications for income assistance by persons under the age of 17 years are to be referred to social work staff for review; a similar review must take place for all applicants under 19 years of age where there are child protection concerns. Income assistance may be granted on a temporary basis during the review period. All decisions to issue income assistance to applicants 17 and 18 years of age must be approved by the District Supervisor, and must take into account any support agreement arranged between a Family Maintenance Worker and the parents of those applicants. All decisions to issue income assistance to minors under 17 years of age and to those living in a common-law relationship must be approved by the Area Manager, also taking into account any support agreements. Policy 3.19


No specific definition of "single person".

Northwest Territories

A single person is defined as: an unmarried adult who is not the head of a family or an unmarried parent or who, being under the age of 19 years, does not live with either of his parents or with a guardian. Regulation 1

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