Interested in the Self-Employment (SE) Program?
The WorkBC Service Centre in your region is your first point of contact for your referral to the SE program. Meet with a WorkBC case manager to find out if you’re eligible.
The Self-Employment Program is open to individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- On an Active Employment Insurance (E.I.) Claim (Active E.I. Claimant)
- Has received E.I. Benefits in the past (Reach-back E.I. Client or Former E.I. Claimant); or
- Has earned more than $2,000 in insurable earnings and paid E.I. employee premiums on those earnings in at least five (consecutive or non-consecutive) of the previous ten calendar years.
- Currently receiving B.C. Benefits with a Persons with Disabilities (PWD) status, or Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) status
- Person with a disability who may or may not be receiving any other forms of support (e.g. CPP disability)
As well as:
- Be unemployed or underemployed. An underemployed worker works 20 or less hours per week on average. For clarification on underemployed status please contact your local WorkBC Service Centre.
- Live in the Central Kootenay Region
- Want to start a business that is ‘new to you’
- Have a minimum 51% controlling interest in the business
- Be legally entitled to work in BC
- Propose a business concept that is legal and suitable for public funding
- Demonstrate a minimum personal investment in the business showing that you are investing in the start-up of your business
- Plan to work full time (35 hours per week) in your business or a minimum 20 hours per week for those with a disability
To confirm your E.I. status you can contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 or visit My E.I. online and if you do not qualify, we are still here to help. To determine your eligibility please visit your local WorkBC Employment Services Centre.
Eligible Business Structures
The acceptable types of business structures for SE are:
- Sole proprietorship: the SE participant owns 100% of the business and has complete control of the business.
- Partnership: the partnership agreement must reflect that the SE participant(s) is a general partner, the major decision maker(s), and has control of the venture. B.C. Employment Assistance (BCEA) clients must confirm the impacts of partnership arrangements on ongoing BCEA eligibility with the Ministry.
- Corporation: the SE participant (or SE participants) intending to form a corporation must jointly hold the majority of voting shares.
- Cooperative: the SE participant(s) intending to be an owner/member in a new worker cooperative must solely or jointly have control over the SE venture.
- Franchise: an individual interested in opening a franchise operation may be supported under SE if they have some flexibility with respect to operating the franchise and making business decisions.