A first step to accessing government benefits and services is to make sure you have the necessary identification (ID).
A Birth Certificate
(if born in Canada) or Permanent Resident Card/Citizenship Certificate (if born outside Canada) is considered primary identification:
- You must have a birth certificate to apply for other types of ID such as:
- You may need a birth certificate when opening a bank account, registering children for school and when applying for benefits.
Assistance with Obtaining ID
SEED and Citizen's Bridge help people living on a low income to obtain ID and open bank accounts. They can also help you apply for eligible benefits.
- SEED’s Access to Benefits program – You can book an appointment by calling 204-927-9945 in Winnipeg or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited. SEED also helps people file income tax returns.
- Citizens' Bridge – helps people living on a low income to access the identification (Canada wide birth certificates) needed to access government benefits and programs. Citizens' Bridge can also assist with safely storing your identification, opening bank accounts, getting a learner's/driver's licence, and employment and financial skills. Ask for a referral by contacting one of the many Community Referral Partners listed in Facebook (under General Information). After referral, an appointment can be booked by calling Citizens' Bridge at 204-691-9719 or visiting them at 607 Selkirk Avenue. For Outreach and ID Clinics call 204-691-9720.
Reports, Studies and Commentaries
- Access to Identification for Low-Income Manitobans - a study researching what can be done to reduce barriers to ID - a critical tool in the fight against poverty - for low-income Manitobans. Ellen Smirl, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, October 2017.
- Prove Yourself! - commentary on barriers to accessing ID for low-income Manitobans. Ellen Smirl, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Occtober 10, 2017.