Human Rights Decision on IA Payments

Media Statement

YELLOWKNIFE (December 11, 2017) – Minister of Education, Culture and Employment is acknowledging a Decision made by the Human Rights Commission on the process surrounding how some Income Assistance payments are made to clients.

“The Department of Education, Culture and Employment provides residents of the Northwest Territories with Income Assistance benefits to assist with basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

In 2010, at the request of the Hamlets, community members and the District Education Authorities, the Department agreed to provide a food voucher payment system to suppliers in the communities of Tuktoyaktuk, Ulukhaktok and Aklavik.

While one of the primary principles of the Income Security Programs is providing consistent, equitable access to all of our programs, in unique circumstances we will work with communities to ensure the security and well-being of members.

The Department recently received a Decision made by the Human Rights Commission that the food voucher system is discriminatory. As a response, we will be returning to the standard approach of providing Income Assistance payments directly to clients.

Beginning in February 2018, all Income Assistance clients across the Northwest Territories will be receiving their payments directly.

We will continue to deliver programs that encourage self-reliance and ensure that they respond to the needs and realities of our residents.”