Step 2: Applying for benefits

Assist with transportation support


Often benefits application processes lead to applicants having to travel to multiple locations to apply successfully (e.g., going to Service Canada to get documents or to visit a doctor to fill out forms). The costs associated with travel can be prohibitive. Your organization can help by providing supports like bus tickets or offering to drive clients to various appointments.

You should be prepared with the following:

  • Staff time — You will require staff time to research, write proposals and secure funding to provide this service to community members. You will also require staff time to administer the program.
  • Funding — This kind of service will require funding to cover the cost of transportation, or for the staff time to coordinate volunteers if using that as a method of providing transportation.
  • Technology — An accounting system and/or process will be required to keep track of usership/budget
  • Promotion — Due to the potentially expensive nature of this kind of program, you may have limits on the number of people you can support through this service. You will have to decide if you will be promoting this service to already existing clients or promoting more externally. If externally you will need to create materials for marketing and communication. You will also need to decide who will be able to access the service.
  • Legal implications — Establish safety protocols if staff or volunteers are transporting clients, including what happens in case of an accident. You may need additional insurance or waivers signed by users.

  • Decide whether providing direct transportation or providing other supports like bus fare will better meet the needs of your community and the capabilities of your organization.
  • If available in your community, you can promote subsidized transit to community members who are eligible. This can be done via posters or when meeting with clients one-on-one.
  • If transportation service is not currently available in your community, consider seeking financial support/funding to cover transportation costs of community members that require this assistance (to cover cost of bus tokens etc.)
  • Create communication and promotional materials to promote this service to your community (flyers, via social media etc.)

  • Consider conducting a needs analysis first to determine the level of need for this service and best approach for providing transportation (i.e. funding cost of fare or volunteer drivers).
  • You could investigate available support from foundations or corporations to help fund this initiative.
  • Seek new and innovate ways to get people assistance with transit that could work in your community, such as the Uber example in the Examples of this work section. There may be other ways to deliver this support unique to your region.
  • Create a pool of volunteer drivers to assist community members who require transportation assistance to get to important appointments.
  • Connect with your local transit system to explore a potential partnership or collaboration. Some transit systems distribute free passes and bus tickets through trusted community agencies.
  • Advocate for greater access to public transit for individuals living on a low income.

  • In some small communities where public transit is limited or not available, Uber is being subsidized to provide transportation services
  • The PATH program in Edmonton distributes free monthly transit passes to vulnerable Edmontonians through community agencies, enabling the mobility of residents who might not otherwise be able to afford transportation.
  • Here is a list of examples of discounted transit programs

Other supports that might interest you

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Crtitical supports you can provide throughout your client's entire journey

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Best practices

Get practical tools, methods, and advice. Learn from other organizations who are already providing access to benefits services by accessing this collection of their best practices.

Best practices