- Introduce a lifetime limit of five years on training and jobs assistance, and a lifetime limit of three years for income assistance, with ‘cashless welfare’ being applied when those limits are reached.
- Extend cashless welfare to any parent who has additional children while receiving a benefit. This means a person’s benefits will be placed on a debit card which can only be used for specific purposes – for example, rent, energy, and groceries.
- Adjust income tax categories so that those receiving welfare can start working without an immediate 100% clawback of benefits
Government should support British Columbians in genuine hardship who cannot otherwise support themselves. It should play a limited, but important, role in protecting the vulnerable. However, at its worst social assistance can become a trap for many. While the intention of alleviating hardship is noble, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians are now dependent on welfare. This prevents them from living independent, productive lives.
Moreover, individuals on social assistance can not work, or can work in very limited amounts depending on their circumstances, without a complete clawback of their benefits. This creates a perverse situation for the individual trying to get back on his or her feet, for much of their first earned income will come directly at the expense of the benefits they were receiving, money they no doubt need to make ends meet. In this calculus, there is literally zero financial incentive for a person to work those first few marginal hours while on welfare.