Job Search Supports When Money’s A Problem

Job Search Supports When Money’s A Problem

Free job search coaching, funding, and donated interview clothing: there are resources for low-income folks in need.

Free job search coaching, funding, and donated interview clothing: there are resources for low-income folks in need.

Job hunters with low incomes have some extra hurdles. Some can’t afford proper clothes for interviews. Lots of others would never get good search help if it weren’t subsidized.

Thank goodness there’s a whack of resources out there. Whether paid for by our taxes or charitable giving, being jobless doesn’t have to mean being penniless.

Basic Income
Money’s the burning issue for anyone who’s been unemployed long. Employment Insurance (E.I.) is the government’s temporary safety blanket. More than half a million Canadians receive this funding monthly. You can get it for up to 45 weeks (or more) if eligible. Not that it replaces the whole salary. But when needed it’s a lifesaver.

What if E.I. runs out? Social Assistance could kick in. Again no long-term solution. It also opens doors to all sorts of other potential subsidies, like cheaper or free healthcare (drug, dental and eye care, for instance), transit, childcare, housing and education/retraining costs.  

Sometimes employers go bankrupt, leaving workers high and dry. There’s a Wage Earner Protection Program for this. It reimburses you for owed salary, vacation pay, severance pay, and termination pay.

Tax Relief
Often E.I. is taxable as income. Also, most social assistance has to be reported on annual returns. Anything that lessens the bite these might make is worth looking into.

The feds offer a GST/HST credit to Canadians with low incomes. Plus full and partial rebates on the federal portion of the HST. Another refundable tax credit is the working income tax benefit (WITB). Each province has its own sales tax credit too. You can claim these on income tax and benefit returns if you qualify.  

Job Search Help
All over the country, there are employment and career centers run as non-profits. All their helpful services cost you nada. They put on job search workshops, give a hand making your resume irresistible, and set you up with other social service agencies – housing, language skills, legal aid. They’re found under “employment centers” in the phone book or web search. 

Retraining And Upgrading
All the churn and burn in traditional industries, such as manufacturing and transportation, can leave people jobless with skills not much in demand. That’s a harsh jolt at mid-life. 

In answer to that, there are programs galore for retraining and certification. At the federal level there’s Canada Job Fund Agreements, and Skills Boost Initiative, via Employment and Social Development Canada. They partner with the provincial labour and learning ministries, so get in touch with yours. Could be thousands of dollars in tuition (maybe extended E.I. benefits as well). 

Check out local and provincial goodies too. Side note: regions hardest hit by unemployment often have special programs beyond the standard aid. Then there are charities pitching in specialized services. Like coats and proper work clothes, transport to and from job interviews.

There’s a difference between being broke and broken. Canada’s safety net can be the glue that puts employment pieces back together.