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

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Victoria cannabis dispensaries are busy in their first days of legal operation

The Cloud Nine Collective and The Original FARM opened their doors on April 15

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read