Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP): Eligibility: Qualifying for income support and eligibility period

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Income support, administered by IRCC, can be provided for up to 12 months for Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs). In exceptional circumstances and for higher needs clients (e.g. Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) cases), income support can be provided for up to 24 months. In rare cases involving separated minors it can be provided for up to 36 months.

GARs are eligible for the Interim Federal Health Program medical coverage.

Basis of income support rates

The delivery of income support is based on national and provincial or territorial standards.

Monthly income-support entitlements for shelter, food and incidentals are guided by the prevailing provincial or territorial social assistance rates, which vary in each province.

Other entitlements, such as the staple allowance or maternity allowance, are based on standard national maximum rates that are part of RAP.

For additional information, please refer to the RAP Terms and Conditions and RAP allowances.

Income support rates are to be paid as maximums and should not be exceeded, with the exception of shelter allowance and housing supplement, which are determined based on actual costs up to maximum amounts. In exceptional cases, where maximums need to be exceeded, approval must be obtained from NHQ-IN-ROD through an exceptional allowance request, based on the recommendation of the local supervisor or manager.

Qualifying for income support

Refugees qualify for income support when they cannot provide the basic needs of life for themselves or their dependants.

Basic needs of life include the following:

  • Food and incidentals
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Basic furniture (beds, table, chairs, etc.)
  • Other essential household goods (linens, pots and pans, etc.

Eligibility period

Income support allowances are based on criteria that consider the client’s ability to meet ongoing basic needs for the duration of their entitlement period.

  • Benefits for Principal Applicant (PA) or Head of Family (HOF) and accompanying dependants are normally provided
    • for 12 months from the date of arrival in Canada or
    • until the client has sufficient income and resources available to provide for themselves - whichever comes first.
  • The eligibility period for non-accompanying dependants is based upon their arrival date (not that of the PA or HOF) and ends up to 12 months later.

Extension of Eligibility Period

In certain circumstances, the period of income support eligibility may be extended for up to an additional 12 months. This includes situations of

  • special needs where there is a joint assistance undertaking signed by IRCC and a SAH;
  • exceptional circumstances determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with a supervisor or manager and NHQ-IN-ROD. In these situations, the support of a private sponsor is not always required. However, one may be recommended. An extension of this kind is rare.

Age of Majority

Age of majority refers to the age in which a person is considered an adult according to the provincial jurisdiction where they reside. In Canada, the age of majority is 18 in the provinces of

  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

The age of majority is 19 in

  • British Columbia
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon

When a person reaches the age of majority after arrival in Canada, the RAP officer will create a new RAP application using their UCI and will create a new commitment for them effective of the first of the following month after their birthday. The payments can still continue to be paid out to the HOF if the overage dependent is still living at home, by associating the file to the HOF’s RAP application with a Party ID, and using the HOF as the vendor.

RAP clients who have not yet reached the age of majority may have their own RAP application created in GCMS, but will require a financial trustee who is able to receive and manage the funds on their behalf until they reach the age of majority. See also: Separated minors.

In cases where a minor has left the home and is not able to find a financial trustee, NHQ-IN-ROD should be consulted to determine next steps, as there may be exceptions granted in certain circumstances for minors aged 16 or over. RAP officers should consult respective provincial policy directives to determine whether the case may meet criteria to issue financial support to the minor.

When a minor is a parent to a child of their own and is still living with parent(s)/guardian, the minor and their child will be considered as dependents on the original adult file for the purposes of calculating income support rates.

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