Moving ‘Welfare Wednesday’ to a different day has unintended consequences, researcher says

published on June 3, 2019 by Rafferty Baker in CBC News (BC)

Karen Ward, 46, has lived in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for 12 years. She began using cocaine about three years before that, and continues to smoke “rock.”

Ward doesn’t get welfare, but she is on disability assistance while working part-time for the City of Vancouver. She says when cheque issue day — or “welfare Wednesday” — rolls around, the entire neighbourhood goes crazy; the chaos even starts a day early in anticipation.

“People are getting loans. People are getting fronts — it’s mayhem,” said Ward. “Everyone finally has a little bit of money to spend. These people are so poor for so long … They spend it right away; they spend it recklessly.”

Cheque issue day has long been tied to spikes in overdoses, taxing first responders and emergency rooms. According to the B.C. Coroners Service, fatal overdoses increase by 35 to 40 per cent in the five days after income assistance payments…

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