6.1 Purpose of Employment and Income Assistance and Intake

6.1.1 Purpose of Employment and Income Assistance


2011-39 Referral to Employment Manitoba - Winnipeg Only (PDF)


Personal Plan - Joint Planning Program (PDF)

Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) is a program of last resort which provides temporary assistance to participants who have no other means to support themselves and their families. For participants who are able to work, EIA's primary focus is employment.

When other means of support are unavailable, longer-term assistance may be provided to eligible participants who are unable to work. Employed participants whose earnings are insufficient to achieve self-sufficiency may also receive longer-term assistance.  

6.1.2 Participation intake and Determination of Eligibility


2016-26 EIA Support for Required Identification (ID) and New SAMIN Code - SNID (PDF)



EIA staff provide a positive approach to participant service, emphasizing the mutual obligations of both the participant and the program. Assistance is provided to enable participants to achieve the maximum amount of self-sufficiency possible.  

The Opportunity to Apply

Any person in Manitoba who approaches Employment and Income Assistance with a request for financial support will be given the opportunity to apply. This opportunity is to be granted without conditions or prerequisites such as the need to first apply for jobs. Eligibility for income assistance benefits is determined through the application process. Staff are not to deny requests for applications, regardless of whether it appears that the person would not be eligible. Instead those seeking an application should be provided with the opportunity to proceed through the intake process, during which eligibility will be formally determined.  

Requirement for Meanginful Contact

Manitobans approaching EIA for financial support have the right and responsibility to engage in meaningful contact with EIA staff.  This purposeful exchange of information helps more fully determine which financial, health and/or educational/employment-related supports may be available to help meet applicant/participants’ basic and essential needs. 

Of equal importance is for staff to engage in meaningful and purposeful assessment and counselling with participants to help them improve their personal, health and household circumstances while on income assistance and, where appropriate, facilitate access to additional supports and services that may lessen or eliminate their need for income assistance. 

Alternatives to EIA enrolment including the Job Centre in Winnipeg

Manitobans approaching EIA for assistance in periods of unemployment or underemployment may be supported in their transition to work and financial independence without having to enroll on EIA. The Department will provide information on alternatives to EIA enrolment including referrals to the Job Centre, job banks, and other community supports such as Employment Manitoba.   All persons are also to be informed that they may request and be granted an application for EIA benefits at any point before or during their involvement in alternative activities.  

The Job Centre in Winnipeg

In Winnipeg, single persons and couples without children who may not want to enroll on EIA but need help finding a job, can access the services and supports of the Job Centre. The Job Centre helps individuals who want to work, regardless of their level of employability. It is a good resource to help people get back to work right away.

The Job Centre can provide employment supports such as job leads and employment counseling as well as immediate assistance for food and transportation until the individual finds work.  

Features of the Job Centre

Diversion from EIA – The Job Centre provides a variety of supports to help individuals find a job, remain independent and not have to apply for income assistance.

Supporting the EIA Intake Process – Participation in Job Centre activities may assist individuals who have been denied income assistance due to leaving employment without a valid reason (i.e., not meeting the “Just Cause” criteria). Where it is determined that a person would not be eligible for EIA due to decisions or actions that resulted in their unemployment, participation in the Job Centre may satisfy EIA eligibility requirements. (See section 6.3.5 Employment Expectations).  

Participant Intake

An appropriate intake procedure is determined, dependent upon employment expectations, during the initial contact with participants. Where employment expectations do not apply, participants are referred directly for an intake appointment. Where employment expectations may apply, participants' immediate needs are assessed and they are referred to a pre-intake orientation.

Participants complete an application during an intake interview. Where employment expectations may apply, participants review their Employment History and Personal Job Plan with a worker and discuss employment expectations. Where employment expectations will be applied, participants are required to sign their Personal Job Plan confirming their employment expectations, and their understanding of the sanctions that may be applied, if these obligations are not met.  

All applications are then verified to ensure that the information provided is accurate and that participants are enrolled based on their eligibility. The enrolment letter confirms whether participants are exempted, deferred or subject to employment expectations.  

6.1.3 Initial Contact

The potential applicant may make initial contact with the program by telephone or by dropping into an EIA office. In remote communities, the applicant may obtain an information and application package or attend a group registration session.

During the initial contact, the worker:

  • provides basic information to the potential applicant concerning EIA;
  • makes a preliminary assessment of whether EIA is an appropriate resource;
  • determines the potential applicant's current circumstances in relation to categorical eligibility criteria;
  • determines whether the program's employment expectations are applicable;
  • determines whether immediate financial assistance is required and, if so, provides assistance;
  • performs a prior contact check to see if potential applicants
    • are currently receiving or have received EIA in the past, or
    • pose a known security risk;
  • arranges an intake appointment for potential applicants not subject to employment expectations;
  • invites potential single parent and general assistance applicants to a pre-intake orientation session which will provide a full description of the program and application materials (see section 6.2 for more details on the pre-intake orientation session and information package); or
  • if an orientation session is not available, the potential applicant is provided with a pre-intake information package containing an Employment History and Personal Job Plan form (see sections 6.3.2 to 6.3.4 for further information on this form) which the individual will be expected to complete and bring to the intake appointment.
  • records all appointments for pre-intake orientations and intake appointments in the on-line event scheduling system (where available); and
  • refers persons to other resources as appropriate.

6.1.4 Categorical and Financial Eligibility

EIA eligibility is governed by The Manitoba Assistance Act and the Assistance Regulation.

Both categorical and financial eligibility criteria must be met before an applicant is eligible for assistance. These criteria also determine the amount of assistance provided. For childless applicants in the general assistance category, meeting employment expectations is a further condition of eligibility.

Categorical eligibility refers to those categories of persons, as defined in section 5(1) and section 5.1 of the Act, to whom assistance may be payable. Under section 5(1), persons with disabilities, aged, and single parent applicants, as well as children not in their parents' care, applicants with dependants in need of special care, and women residing in crisis intervention facilities may be eligible for assistance.

Under section 5.1, applicants who do not fit any of the categories described in section 5(1) may be eligible for general assistance. (For more details regarding the provision of general assistance, see section 11.1.1).  

Financial eligibility refers to the level of financial resources of an applicant in an eligible category and the corresponding level of assistance that may be payable, as defined in the Regulation, sections 8(1) through 8(10) and Schedule A. The difference between an applicant's financial resources and the cost of his/her basic necessities is defined by legislation. Financial resources include all resources not specifically exempted in sections 8(1) to 8(10) of the Regulation. The cost of basic necessities is set out in Schedule A of the Regulation.  

6.1.5 Determining Categorical Eligibility


2011-47 SAMIN Adjustments to the application: Barriers to Employment/Medical Information (PDF)

In many cases, the applicant's category of eligibility will be clear at the outset of the intake interview. In other cases, it may be necessary to proceed with the intake interview to establish the applicant's category of eligibility.

Assuming that the applicant is financially eligible, categories of eligibility include:

  • aged: applicants who are 65 years of age or older and ineligible for or not currently receiving federal OAS/GIS benefits (see section 12.1);
  • persons with disabilities: applicants suffering from physical or mental ill health, incapacity or disorder likely to last longer than three months (see sections 7.1.1 and 7.1.2);
  • To establish eligibility in the persons with disabilities category, applicants submit an EIA Disability Assessment Report completed by their doctor for review by the EIA Disability Assessment Panel and the director or designate. (For more on the disability assessment process, see sections 7.1.5 and 7.1.6). If the applicant's disability is self-evident and severe or terminal, or the applicant has provided evidence that he or she is enrolled in the Canada Pension Plan Disability program the director or designate may approve immediate enrolment in the persons with disabilities category.
  • single parents: applicants who have physical custody of a dependent child or children who are:
    • the applicants biological child,
    • the applicant's adoptive child,
    • the applicant's step-child, or
    • a child of whom the applicant is the sole legal guardian at least 50% of the time, and who is
      • a widow or widower,
      • living separate and apart from his or her spouse or common-law spouse,
      • the spouse or common-law spouse of someone who is incarcerated,
      • unmarried, or
      • divorced;

(For more on eligibility in the single-parent category, see section 8.1.1 to 8.1.4).

  • 5(1)(f)'s: children in the care of an adult who is not their biological, adoptive or step-parent or their sole legal guardian (see section 10.1);
  • applicants with dependants in need of special care: under sections 5(1)(g), 5(3) and 5(4) of the Act and section 1(1) of the Regulation, EIA provides assistance to applicants who are not otherwise financially eligible for assistance, but who have one or more dependants who require special care (such as the care provided in a personal care home or other residential institution);
  • applicants residing in crisis intervention facilities: see section 9.3.1;
  • general assistance: applicants who do not fall within any of the specific categories, (for more on general assistance, see section 11.1);
  • minors: minors who are in the care of an adult other than their parent or guardian are enrolled under sections 5(1)(f) of the Act (see sections 10.1.1 to 10.1.4, section 10.1.7 and section 10.1.10). Independent minor applicants who meet all the eligibility criteria may be enrolled as special cases. (For more on minor applicants, see section 9.2.1).
  • special cases (other than minors): see section 9.1.1.

6.1.6 Registration Process

Personal information not recorded

For each potential applicant for whom a pre-intake orientation or an intake appointment is scheduled, the information specialist records the following information in the on-line event scheduling system:
  • the potential applicant's name;
  • the potential applicant's address;
  • the potential applicant's telephone number; and
  • the results of a prior check.
  This is the minimum quantity of personal information required to take the next step in the pre-intake or intake process.  

Two-adult households

Where there are two adults in a potential applicant's household, both adults' names are recorded. Both adults in a general assistance household are expected to attend a pre-intake orientation (see section 6.2.2). Where there are two adults in any potential applicant's household, both adults are required to attend the intake appointment because both adults' signatures are required on the EIA application (see section 6.9.2).  

The importance of punctuality and preparedness

When scheduling a pre-intake orientation or an intake appointment, the information specialist stresses to potential applicants the importance of arriving on time. Potential applicants who arrive too late to be accommodated at a pre-intake orientation or an intake appointment may be rescheduled to the next available opportunity.  

See section 6.4.3 for a description of intake and application form completion procedures in remote communities.

6.1.7 Immediate Assistance

When the potential applicant has an immediate need, such as food or medications, prior to their intake appointment or the verification of their eligibility and appears to meet categorical and financial eligibility criteria, or, is in an emergency or crisis situation, short-term financial assistance may be authorized for a maximum of 14 days at a time using the established guideline rates. In addition, staff may provide assistance for specific immediate needs, such as diapers, in excess of daily immediate assistance guideline rates.   Depending on local labour market conditions, childless potential applicants without employment barriers may be able to reasonably meet their immediate need through casual labour.  

An immediate intake appointment is scheduled if the worker concludes that:

  • immediate need exists;
  • the potential applicant meets categorical and financial eligibility criteria (see section 6.1.4 to 6.1.5); and
  An immediate intake appointment may take the form of:
  • an immediate appointment at the centralized intake office (if in Winnipeg) ;
  • a mobile intake appointment (see section 6.4.6); or
  • an appointment at any of EIA's service locations, including all service locations in Winnipeg (see section 6.4.6).

6.1.8 Employment Expectations

Employment expectations are set out in the Regulation, sections 10(1) to (3), "Obligations Respecting Employment." These obligations do not apply to:
  • persons with disabilities (temporarily or permanently);
  • the elderly;
  • persons in authorized crisis facilities; and
  • single-parent families with children under the age of six.
  Employment expectations are established for:
  • single parents;
  • persons in unorganized territories; and
  • the dependent children of these participants, who are 16 years of age and not in school.

Single parents with a child under six may be exempt from these expectations if they have not received assistance, including basic assistance, while participating in training or other activities to improve their employability. Participants with a child under six who choose to work, or to search for work, will be encouraged to do so. Employment expectations will only apply if participants choose to participate in training or other activities to improve their employability.

Both partners in a general assistance family unit are expected to seek employment. Where there is a child under six in the family unit, parents are expected to balance their employment and family obligations.  

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