Outstanding warrant restrictions begin June 1

Outstanding Warrant restrictions begin on June 1, the provincial government announced this week.

The restrictions prevent access to income assistance and disability assistance for people with outstanding indictable arrest warrants in B.C. and other provinces, as well as arrest warrants under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).

Passed by the B.C. legislature last fall, the restrictions help ensure social assistance goes to those most in need and provide fiscal accountability to B.C. taxpayers by not tolerating abuse of social assistance.

Indictable offences are serious types of offences such as assault, theft, breaking and entering, drug trafficking, murder, assault with a weapon, and assault causing bodily harm.

The intention is to ensure that individuals take personal responsibility and resolve outstanding warrants before being provided social assistance in this province.

Exceptions will be made for dependent children and highly vulnerable people, such as those who are pregnant or who are in the last stages of life. If an adult in a family has a warrant, the remaining family members are still eligible for assistance. No assistance will be paid for the warrant holder.

British Columbians wishing to resolve outstanding warrants can request repayable assistance to cover the least-expensive, cost-appropriate transportation for the warrant holder to return to the jurisdiction that issued the warrant.

A two-month notice period will be provided to allow people the opportunity to resolve outstanding warrants before the restrictions come into effect June 1, 2010.