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Ground-Breaking Study Follows BC Welfare Recipients For Two Years Reveals Welfare Rules and Rates Cause Disturbing Harm To Most Vulnerable

Posted on Wednesday, April 23 2008 by
N Say

(Vancouver) A ground-breaking study that for two years followed British Columbians living on welfare paints a disturbing picture of how people are forced to make ends meet under new welfare rules and low rates.

The study was released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Raise the Rates Coalition, as part of the Economic Security Project, a joint CCPA-Simon Fraser University initiative.

Living on Welfare in BC: Experiences of Longer-Term "Expected to Work" Recipients followed 62 people from Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.

Among the key findings:

"We focused on people who had been on social assistance for an extended time and who were officially categorized as 'employable.' We looked at how they experience the new, tougher work-obligation rules and the hardships they experience," says Professor Jane Pulkingham, Chair of Sociology and Anthropology at SFU, and co-author of the study.

Among this study's policy recommendations are the following:

"We urge the provincial government to change its overarching goals, away from a narrow focus on welfare caseload reduction, and move instead to the broader goals of poverty reduction and elimination, and health promotion," concludes Pulkingham.

Living on Welfare in BC: Experiences of Longer-Term "Expected to Work" Recipients, by Seth Klein and Jane Pulkingham (with Sylvia Parusel, Kathryn Plancke, Jewelles Smith, Dixon Sookraj, Thi Vu, Bruce Wallace and Jane Worton), can be downloaded at

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