Welfare is the social safety net of last resort, so it should come as no surprise that many
welfare recipients do not have other major sources of income. At the same time, a small
proportion of welfare recipients do get a few dollars from other sources to help make ends meet. Graph M shows the percentage of welfare cases in all provinces except New Brunswick
in March 1997 and municipal welfare programs in Nova Scotia and Manitoba. Overall, the
graph covers 1,416,602 welfare cases or 95 percent of the estimated national caseload
of 1,494,800.




   The first five bars of the graph up to the vertical line show individual sources of outside
income, and the two bars to the right of the vertical line show the percentage of cases with
some outside income and the percentage of cases with no outside income. The figures on top of the first five bars add up to 36 percent, but the sixth bar is only
29 percent. The difference is because some people on welfare had more than one individual
source of outside income. Single parents, for example, could be working a few hours a
month and receiving child support payments from a former spouse at the same time. The bar representing transfer payments refers to benefits from a very short list of
government income support programs, including federal pension programs for people 60 and
older, Canada Pension Plan benefits, pensions for war veterans, and workers' compensation.
It does not include the two broadest federal programs, the GST Credit for low-income people
and the Child Tax Benefit for low-income and middle-income families with children. If the GST
Credit and Child Tax Benefit were included, the bar of the graph for transfer payments
would have been at or near 100 percent. Only one percent of the welfare cases were getting Employment Insurance benefits. One
reason the figure was so low is that people would normally have to see their EI benefits run out
completely before they could qualify for welfare. The one percent of cases shown in the graph
could include people who were just exhausting their EI benefits and going on welfare for the
first time. It may also include people who needed help while they waited for their first EI
cheques to come in and people who needed welfare to top up EI payments that were not
enough to live on. The two bars to the right of the vertical line shows that 29 percent of welfare cases had
some form of income aside from welfare, and the other 71 percent had no outside income at all. The proportions and the "mix" of outside incomes are noticeably different when the data
are broken down by family type. Graph N on the next page shows the differences in detail.
The graph covers all provinces except New Brunswick and British Columbia and municipal
welfare programs in Nova Scotia and Manitoba - 1,225,360 cases in all or 82 percent of
the estimated national caseload.












   There were some significant differences in the percentages of welfare cases with no other
outside income. The figure was 52 percent for couples with children, 57 percent for single-
parent families, and 55 percent for couples without children, but it was 82 percent for unatta-
ched persons. Wages were a relatively common source of outside income for couples with children on
welfare. Child support or alimony was the most common source of outside income for single-
parent families on welfare, but wages were a close second. Transfer payments and wages were
the main sources of outside income for the other two family types on welfare, but
both percentages were extremely low for unattached persons.





Single Parent

Other Reasons

Total Cases

Wages 89,053-18% 29,888-8% 42,559-22% 29,917-16% 191,817-16%
Transfert Payments 11,428-2% 66,534-18% 4,371-2% 28,921-15% 111,254-9%
Support Payments 12,860-3% 5,815-2% 49,220-25% 11,871-6% 79,766-7%
Unemployment Insurrance 8,786-2% 1,252-0% 2,415-1% 1,571-1% 14,024-1%
Some Outside Income 120,017-25% 100,980-28% 86,903-45% 64,756-35% 372,655-30%
No Outside Income 362,959-75% 260,316-72% 107,021-55% 122,411-65% 852,707-70%
Totals 482,976-100% 361,296-100% 193,924-100% 187,166-100% 1,225,360-100%


   Some of the differences in outside incomes among the four family types are due to
differing reasons for assistance. Table 11 on the previous page breaks down some of the major
sources of income according to the reasons for being on welfare. As in Graph N, the table
covers 1,225,360 cases or 82 percent of the estimated national total in March 1997. The first four rows of the table show the number and percentage of welfare cases which
received outside income from specific sources. The next two rows show the number
and percentage of cases with some outside income or no outside income. One of the largest figures in the top part of the table is the 89,053 cases with job-related
reasons for being on welfare which reported wage income. Even so, that figure represented
only 18 percent of the 482,976 cases with job-related reasons for assistance. Transfer payments were most important source of outside income for welfare cases
related to disability. They were claimed by 66,534 cases or 18 percent of those with disability
as a reason for assistance. Wages and alimony or child support were both important sources of income for
heads of cases claiming single parenthood as a reason for assistance. The percentage of welfare cases reporting some outside income or no outside income also
varied substantially by province, as shown in Table 12 on the next page. The lowest percentages with some outside income were 20 percent of the cases in
Newfoundland and 24 percent of the cases in Quebec. Both provinces also reported very
low percentages of welfare cases with wage income. The highest percentage of cases with outside income was 51 percent in Saskatchewan.
That figure is misleading, however, because Saskatchewan reported some benefits for families
with children as transfer payments. The 32 percent of cases with transfers is out of line
with the data for other provinces.





Transfert Payments

Support Payments

Employment Insurance

Other Income

Some Outside Income

No Outside Income

Total Cases

Newfoundland 1,126-3% 2,410-7% 2,324-6% 702-2% 1,225-3% 7,023-20% 28,866-80% 35,886-100%
Prince Edward Island 977-17% 818-15% 338-6% 147-3% 321-6% 2,538-45% 3076-55% 5614-100%
Nova Scotia Provincial 3,820-12% 3,311-11% 7,473-24% 146-0% 1,773-6% 11,904-38% 19,138-62% 31,042-100%
New Brunswick Data Not Available
Quebec 38,081-8% 34,945-7% 20,004-4% 5,206-1% 25,398-5% 113,552-24% 356,823-76% 470,375-100%
Ontario 110,789-19% 54,861-9% 44,657-8% 6,086-1% 31,652-5% 198,237-34% 379,557-66% 577,795-100%
Manitoba Provincial 3,768-15% 1,372-5% 1,659-7% 248-1% 436-2% 6,833-27% 18,598-73% 25,341-100%
Saskatchewan 4,985-13% 12,437-32% 1,129-3%% 381-1% 997-3% 20,064-51% 19,060-49% 39,124-100%
Alberta 9,211-23% 1,100-3% 2,182-5% 729-2% 848-2% 12,054-31% 27,589-69% 40,093-100%
British Columbia 18,992-10% 9,382-5% 13,363-7% 2,271-1% 2,246-1% 41,839-22% 149,403-78% 191,242-100%
Totals 191,749-14% 120,636-9% 93,129-7% 15,916-1% 64,896-5% 414,494-29% 1,002,110-71% 1,416,602-100%


NOTE: The statistics for Nova Scotia and Manitoba do not include municipal welfare cases.



Finally, the high percentage of support payments in Nova Scotia is due to the fact that
the only data reported were from provincial welfare. If municipal welfare statistics had been
available, the percentage of cases with support payments probably would have been close to the
average shown in the bottom row. However, the figures for Manitoba are close to average even
without municipal caseload statistics. New Brunswick did not provide information to the database for 1997, but the figures for
previous years were in line with the national averages. In March 1996, for example, 14 percent
of New Brunswick's welfare cases had wage income, nine percent had transfer payments, two
percent had support payments, two percent had Employment Insurance benefits and two percent
had other sources of income. Thirty percent of the province's caseload had some form
of outside income, and the remaining 70 percent had no outside income.
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