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.

Just Posted

West Kootenay afternoon storms spark fires

Lots of thunder and lightning, and little rain, as system moves through region

PLACE NAMES: Rossland neighbourhoods, Part 2

Early Rossland’s misaligned townsite additions frustrated the city engineer

Webster students find missing man

Man reported missing from his Warfield home Wednesday night

Getting to know you better: Rossland kids spend day with nature

Third annual bio-blitz brings kids more environmental awareness

Update: Man missing located

Trail RCMP thank public, SAR and media for assistance in locating Steven Sutherland

VIDEO: First Nations, developer call for return and protection of sacred B.C. burial site

Dozens of First Nations leaders gather on grassy plateau to call on action by provincial government

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Most Read