Police say Victoria’s emergency services are inundated in and around “Welfare Wednesday.” (Black Press Media files)

Should B.C. nix ‘Welfare Wednesday’ and stagger income assistance cheques?

Liberal MLA calls for cheques to be staggered through the month instead of the same week

With illicit drug overdoses killing an average of four people per day in B.C., one Liberal MLA hopes a change to how welfare cheques are distributed may help bring some reprieve.

Social assistance cheques are issued every third or fourth Wednesday of the month, garnering the name “Welfare Wednesday.” In the days that follow, first responders and frontline workers say they see a significant increase in overdose calls and deaths.

A study by the B.C. Centre on Substance Use found that, since 2009, 40 per cent more people have died during that week than any other time during the month.

Jane Thornthwaite, who represents North Vancouver-Seymour and is the Liberals’ mental health and addictions critic, put forward a private member’s bill this week, calling for the distribution of the cheques to be staggered through the month.

READ MORE: Study looks to effects of changing universal income assistance cheques

READ MORE: Most of B.C.’s overdose victims face financial hardship before death

She said she’s been lobbied by some first responders who are overwhelmed during income assistance week.

Researchers at the centre on substance use have been studying what would happen if the province were to split the one income assistant cheque into two every month, or not make the payments on one universal day province-wide.

That report is set to be released in coming months.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack hopes to re-start public consultation

A new survey asks residents if they’re ready to discuss projects not related to COVID-19

UPDATE: Missing girl in Chilliwack’s Promontory neighborhood found

A 13-year-old child was missing from early Monday morning to 4:30 in the afternoon

Missing Richmond man last seen in Chilliwack

Shawn Johnson last seen on June 30 on Main Street

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Eagle Landing

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

Abbotsford man wins $1 million in Lotto 6/49 draw

Kenneth Giffen wins prize after deciding to stop in Agassiz gas station after fishing trip

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

UPDATE: Abbotsford shooting victim was alleged ‘crime boss,’ according to court documents

Jazzy Sran, 43, was believed to have been smuggling cocaine across the border

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read