Transitional assistance is available to former Members who meet certain conditions following their term in office to enable them to have some income for a period of time until they find other employment. The work of a Member of the Legislative Assembly is not considered insurable employment by the Canada Revenue Agency, and therefore Members are not eligible to contribute to the federal Employment Insurance plan. The administration of the program, and the specific policies and procedures thereof, remain at the discretion of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.
For more information on transitional assistance, contact Hilary Woodward, Executive Financial Officer at 250-356-6590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligibility and Enrollment
To be eligible for transitional assistance, Members must complete their term of office in a Parliament. Members who resign or forfeit their seat in the Legislative Assembly are not eligible for this assistance. Members who qualify at the time of a provincial general election will be enrolled automatically into the program.
A Member can decline to participate in the program at any time and should notify the Assembly of their intentions by contacting email@example.com.
Assistance Amount and Duration
Eligible former Members receive an amount equal to the basic compensation for a minimum of four months. Transitional assistance continues beyond the four-month period to the date the Member is in receipt of income in excess of the bi-weekly transitional assistance amount or 15 months have elapsed, whichever comes first. The transitional assistance amount is taxable, and deductions at source will be made for CPP and income tax. Please note that the transitional assistance amount is not pensionable. Benefits coverage continues while former Members are in receipt of transitional assistance.
To receive the full 15 months of transitional assistance, a former Member must have served a full term of a parliament. A Member elected in a by-election, and not running or defeated in the next provincial general election, is eligible to receive the first four months of transitional assistance, with the remaining eleven months prorated, based on the amount of time served as a percentage of the duration of the Parliament. The example below illustrates how the proration is calculated:
Example: A Member is elected in a by-election with 900 days remaining out of a 1,461 day Parliament. The Member chose not to run in the next election and therefore served about 62% (900/1,461) of a Parliament. The Member is entitled to a total of 10.82 months (4 months + 62% x 11 months) of transitional assistance.
Disclosure Reporting: Payments made under the Members’ transitional assistance allowance will be disclosed on the Legislative Assembly’s website on an aggregate basis quarterly after a provincial general election.
Re-employment and Pension Benefits
Former Members re-employed or in receipt of Member pension benefits during the transitional assistance period are responsible for notifying firstname.lastname@example.org of their employment or Member pension status. Transitional assistance will be reduced by the gross amount of employment salary or Member pension benefits received. Please note that all Members who meet the transitional assistance criteria are entitled to receive the first four months of transitional assistance payments, regardless of whether the Member is in receipt of employment or pension income.
Income, for the purposes of this policy, includes, but is not limited to: salaries; wages; commissions; bonuses; self-employment income; Member pension benefits; and any amounts paid for serving on a governance board. Member pension benefits is defined as pension income earned in respect of the Member’s service as an MLA, under the Members’ Remuneration and Pensions Act.
If the amount of income falls below the amount of transitional assistance, or employment is discontinued, and the former Member is still within the transitional assistance period (generally 15 months from general voting day, except for former Members elected in a by-election, as noted above), the onus will be on the former Member to email@example.com to have the transitional assistance reinstated. Please note that the overall transitional assistance period is not extended by the period of time a former Member was not receiving transitional assistance.
Each former Member in receipt of transitional assistance will be required to report any employment monies or Member pension income received on a quarterly confirmation form which will be distributed from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits coverage continue, including for spouses and dependents, while former Members are in receipt of transitional assistance unless the former Member advises email@example.com that benefits are provided by the new employer or as part of the MLA pension post-retirement benefits program. If the income received from employment equals or exceeds the amount of transitional assistance, both the payment of transitional assistance and benefits coverage will cease.
Career counselling, education and training costs up to $9,000, upon presentation of receipts, may be eligible for reimbursement. The intent of this allowance is to assist former Members in returning to their previous career or beginning a new career. The Speaker has discretion over the appropriateness of charges against the $9,000 available for career counselling, education and training costs.
Use of the retraining allowance must be approved in advance by the Executive Financial Officer. Members must provide a clear retraining goal, with the intent of obtaining employment or in support of work for non-governmental organizations, to be eligible for reimbursement.
All requests must be approved prior to costs being incurred and must be submitted using the Retraining Allowance Pre-Approval Form. Any appeal of the decision of the Executive Financial Officer with respect to eligibility for use of the Retiring Allowance will be referred to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee’s Subcommittee on Administration and Operations for decision.
Examples of eligible uses of the retraining allowance include:
- Career Counselling: resume and interview assistance, discussion of opportunities, guidance on a course of action;
- Traditional Education: Courses at a Canadian college, university, or institution intended to lead to re-employment. Preference must be given to courses, where available, at a British Columbia institution;
- Distance Education: Distance (on-line) courses at a college, university, or institution intended to lead to re-employment. Preference must be given to courses, where available, at a British Columbia institution;
- Training Costs: professional development courses (including conferences) and certificate programs, and courses in support of work for non-governmental organizations, occurring within Canada, intended to lead to re-employment or required as part of re-certification in a professional organization. Preference must be given to opportunities, where available, at a British Columbia institution;
- Textbooks, course materials, and supplies: Textbooks, course materials, and supplies that are listed as a requirement for the above courses;
- One-time fees: One-time fees required as part of the retraining (such as exam and license fees);
- Travel costs: Travel costs such as accommodation, flights, ferries, mileage, to attend training (reimbursement is at rates established by the Legislative Assembly, where applicable).
Examples of ineligible uses of the retraining allowance include:
- Per diem costs: Per diems are not eligible for reimbursement and are the responsibility of the former Member.
- Equipment costs: Equipment that will be used beyond the extent of a course, for example a camera purchased for a photography class, is not eligible for reimbursement.
- Ongoing costs: Ongoing costs such as professional membership dues.
To be eligible for reimbursement, retraining must occur within the 15 month period following general voting day (the transitional assistance period). There are two possible exceptions to this rule, subject to prior written approval from the Speaker:
1. Reimbursement to Members for retraining costs incurred prior to the general voting day. This option is only available to Members not seeking re-election.
Example: A Member who was formerly a teacher and who is not seeking re-election may take courses prior to the election date in order to be re-certified in time for the fall school semester. Reimbursement of the career retraining costs, up to a maximum of $9,000, will however not occur until after the general voting day.
2. Reimbursement to Members for retraining costs related to a multi-course program that extends beyond the 15-month transitional assistance period. Some Members may enroll in a retraining program which requires the completion of several classes or sessions. Classes or sessions that occur after the transitional assistance period ends may be eligible for reimbursement, as long as the Member was enrolled in and completed a previous class or session which began during the transitional assistance period. To be eligible for reimbursement, all classes and sessions taken outside of the transitional assistance period must be completed by April 30 of the year in which the transitional assistance period ends. Again, reimbursement will be made upon the submission of receipts.
Example: A Member enrolls in an accounting program at a university. The program begins May 1 and the transitional assistance period ends January 31st, 2022. Prior to January 31, 2022, the Member completes two accounting courses and is reimbursed. The Member could be reimbursed for further accounting courses that begin after January 31, 2022 and end prior to April 30, 2022, if the total amount requested for reimbursement does not exceed $9,000.