How CBC Trimmed 107,000 People from Welfare Rolls

VIPIRG was featured in the Tyee!

18 Aug 2005

It was almost like Dave Nash was trying to prove Premier Gordon Campbell wrong. Nash, an affable Victoria activist, was a long-term welfare recipient who was expected to work. But he didn’t leave welfare for a job. In October, 2003, Nash died at the age of 55.

Campbell and a succession of human resources ministers under him during the BC Liberals’ first mandate – Murray Coell, Stan Hagen and Susan Brice – have bragged that the rapidly shrinking welfare caseload is a result of a booming economy and people moving off welfare and into jobs.

But as it turns out, Nash wasn’t the only person to leave the welfare rolls via the morgue.

The month he died, he was just one of 161 people who went out that way, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Between June 2002 and January 2005, a period of 32 months, 6,065 people on welfare died.