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Welfare caseload growing fast, delayed figures show

The number of ready-to-work people receiving welfare grew significantly in March according to statistics delayed for release until after the May 12 election.

The number of cases in the expected-to-work category grew by 5.5 percent from February to March and was up 50 percent from a year earlier.

The largest year-to-year gains were among two-parent families (71 percent), single men (61.3 percent) and couples (53 percent).

“The welfare caseload has not only been increasing, but the increase has been accelerating,” former NDP MLA David Schreck wrote in a newsletter. “That was taking place in 2008 when Premier [Gordon] Campbell was still claiming that BC would duck the worst of the recession. It was worst yet during the election campaign when Premier Campbell was saying 'Keep BC Strong.'”

The monthly statistics were due for release at the end of April, the Tyee reported. The ministry of housing and social development's website says they were released on May 15, three days after the provincial election.

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

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