The one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit aims to help low-income renters with the cost of renting. You may be eligible for a tax-free one-time payment of $500 if your income and the amount that you pay on rent qualify.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers this one-time payment. To apply for this new federal one-time payment, you do not need to receive other housing benefits such as the Canada Housing Benefit, which is co-funded and delivered by the provinces and territories.

For more information, go to: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/child-and-family-benefits/top-up-canada-housing-benefit.html

A staff member from The Advocacy Centre will be at Castlegar and District Community Services (1007 Columbia Ave)


Community Connection Centre (1660 Columbia Ave)


on the following dates:

The advocate can discuss income assistance, disability income assistance, landlord/tenant problems with tenants, accessing Legal Aid information and resources, and family law referrals.  Please call 250-608-0589 or 1-877-352-5777 to arrange an appointment.

The Advocacy Centre is pleased to announce that we have received a grant from the Compassion in Action Transferable Fund, held at Vancouver Foundation. This grant will be used to assist our Community-Based Victim Service program in providing emergency phones, grocery and gas cards and grounding kits for women and children experiencing family, sexual or relationship violence. Many thanks to the grantor for this generous contribution.

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Legal Aid BC

Legal Aid BC has asked The Advocacy Centre to accept applications in Nelson for Legal Aid representation. Through this pilot program, Legal Aid applications can be made in Nelson in person or by phone. To apply, please call The Advocacy Centre at 250-352-5777.  In person applications must be scheduled in advance and can be taken anywhere in Nelson’s downtown core if COVID and safety protocols are observed. We hope to have a drop in times available in the near future – we will keep you posted!

Note:  People continue to have the option to apply for Legal Aid through the Provincial Call Centre in Vancouver – 1-866-577-2525.  

Legal Aid BC Seeking SRLs
for Family Law Feedback Project
Legal Aid BC (LABC) is redesigning its family advice services (including Family Duty Counsel) for the new reality of a hybrid world, combining both virtual and in-person services. They have received funding from the BC Law Foundation to engage OXD, a design and technology consulting firm, to conduct the Discovery to develop options for a people-centred family advice service.  

LABC hope to develop a new way of delivering family advice and family services that is easy and accessible for those who are self representing now that the courts in BC are reliant on MS Teams and look to continue virtual services.

They are seeking BC self-represented litigants with experience in family law matters willing to be interviewed about their experiences. Conversations will revolve around their SRL journey, recent experience with the court, nature of their family issues, previous involvement working with Family Duty Counsel or Family LawLINE or both, etc.  No personal information or particulars will be asked during and/or pursued afterwards.  For the Discovery purpose, LABC and OXD will retain SRL info regarding: ethnical identity, gender, court case location, and key notes from the Zoom interview. For administrative purpose, LABC and OXD will gather SRL name, email address, and mailing address. As a token of appreciation, LABC will provide a $75 visa gift card to each SRL who has completed an interview. If you are interested in participating, please email representingyourself@gmail.com 

We Have Moved!

Please note we are at a new location.

The Castlegar & District Community Services Society is running its second round of the Homeless Partnering Program (HPP) to provide assistance to support individuals who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness, who have been referred or self-refer.

We are accepting referrals from other agencies and professionals who identify potential applicants in need of these services.

The Homeless Partnering Program services and supports in the following areas:
• one to one support
• Addictions
• Counselling and Outreach
• Basic needs: such as gas cards, grocery cards, bus tickets, clothing, vouchers, other support (laundry, pharmacy, etc)
• Assistance with 1st month rent/partial damage deposit
• Provide small rental subsidies for a determined length of time
• Financial support with utilities (power/gas)
• Support with applications (housing, income support)
• Assist with funding to obtaining lost/stolen identification
• Referral to other agencies

The eligibility requirements are as follows:
• Clients must reside in, or be moving into, the Castlegar District.
• To be considered, Applicants must be presently without shelter, at risk of being without shelter, “couch-surfing”, residing in unacceptable shelter or shelter deemed hazardous, or residing in shelter that poses a risk of eviction, violence or abuse.
• Eligibility is determined by HPP Staff, using the approved HPP Intake Form, and guided by the Vulnerability Assessment Tool.
Please refer potential clients to:
Hugh McGillivray, BA. Cc. Family Support Worker 250-365-2104, ext. 234 Hugh.mcgillivray@cdcss.ca

For a brochure on this program, click here.

The COVID health situation has created challenges for many of us, including loss of income, increased costs, difficulties accessing services and challenges around housing.  Here are some links to information including financial supports, temporary protections for tenants, access to the courts and services available in Nelson.  Please feel free to contact us at 250-352-5777, 1-877-352-5777 or advocacycentre@nelsoncares.ca if you have any questions or need support.

For a very informative video on how to safely shop and reduce your risk exposure to COVID19,CLICK HERE.





On January 1, 2020, a number of changes to the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act took effect.

As outlined in the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction’s (MSDPR) news release, these positive changes include:

  • Ending the requirement for people on PWD, PPMB or regular Income Assistance to pursue Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits before the age of 65;
  • Removing the limit to the number of security deposits for Ministry clients
  • Introducing a repayable pet damage deposit with the same requirements as a security deposit
  • Changing the definition of spouse so that people can live together for 12 consecutive months (instead of 3) before being considered spouses
    – Married spouses who separate but are not yet divorced can live together in the same home and be treated as separate family units even if they are still legally married
    – Adults will no longer be considered dependents of each other on the basis of demonstrating a parent role towards the child
  • Eliminating the two-year independence rule, which states that young adults must be financially independent for two years before being able to access income assistance.

The above information is from the Disability Alliance of BC.  For more information, please read MSDPR’s news release (linked above) or contact the Advocacy Centre 250-352-5777/1-877-352-5777 or advocacycentre@nelsoncares.ca.