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Province failed to follow welfare leavers

The number of people receiving welfare in B.C. has recently begun to climb, but as Jody Paterson noted in a column in today's Victoria Times-Colonist, there are about 40 percent fewer people receiving assistance now than there were when the B.C. Liberals took office in 2001.

“Good news or bad?” she asked. The drop “is either a marvel of social strategy or a major reason we've ended up with so many people living on our streets.”

The government, however, has done little to figure out which it is.

The welfare ministry at one time did Exit Surveys to check what people were doing six months after leaving assistance, as reported in The Tyee, but quietly abandoned the effort in 2003 after it was pointed out nearly half the people they were looking for did not have phones. Those reports are no longer on the ministry's website.

More recently the ministry released a report called “Outcomes of those Leaving Assistance”, the Tyee wrote. The report is dated February, 2007, and the ministry posted it on its website in October, 2007.

It was to be the first of several reports created using tax data from Statistics Canada, but nearly two years later the housing and social development ministry is yet to release subsequent reports.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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