Income Assistance Technology Capacity Project
The federal government initiated the First Nations Income Assistance (IA) program in 1964. Since its inception in 1964, the federal on-reserve Income Assistance (IA) program has experienced changes in the delivery of the program, including jurisdictional discrepancies and an increase in funding for individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Band Social Development Workers (BSDWs) across BC are responsible for administering IA and reporting. Due to a number of barriers, including limited training and inadequate access to the Internet, BSDWs are facing significant challenges and barriers to new income reporting mechanisms implemented by Indigenous Services Canada.
The Technology Council launched the Income Assistance Program Information Technology Project (IAP/ITP) to hear from BSDWs from across the province about how technology could be maximized change to support their work including reporting and client/case management. Along with our partners from the Information and Communications Technology Council, and through our Indigenous research – which uses the principles of OCAP® – we have gathered and centred personal narratives, and survey data to recommend areas for future improvements and investment in the on-reserve Income Assistance Program.
Beginning in winter 2020 through spring 2021, the Technology Council, with the support of eight Regional Coordinators from across BC, conducted a province-wide survey and hosted five regional sessions to engage with BSDWs on how technology can improve income assistance reporting.
In October 2020, a number of virtual regional ‘What We Heard’ sessions were held as an opportunity for BSDWs to learn about some of the early project findings and to co-create recommendations to guide future strategies for investment for the on-reserve Income Assistance Program.
After 18 months of research and engagement with BSDWs from across BC, we are pleased to share the Income Assistance Program Information Technology Project Final Report. We are grateful to all those who contributed to this report and its recommendations, particularly, the BSDWs across BC, who shared their experiences and ideas through virtual workshops, interviews, survey feedback, and more.
Click here to download a copy of the Final Report.