Bif Naked takes on challenge to highlight low welfare rates in B.C.

ABOVE: A local musician will find out how some social assistance recipients try to live only on welfare income. Tanya Beja has the story.

VANCOUVER — Bif Naked is taking on the Raise the Rates’ Third Annual Food Challenge. The event aims to highlight the inadequacies of welfare rates in the province, according to its website.

A single person in B.C. receives $610 a month, a rate which has remained stagnant for the past seven years.

“I’m getting tired of telling people the same message,” said Fraser, a man who has lived on welfare for the past three years. “Living on basic welfare…is practically impossible. You’re made to feel degraded. You’re light-headed. Your health is an issue.”

Bif Naked is attempting to live on $3 a day, she says, which is the money left over once rent and other living expenses are deducted from the monthly payments.

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Raise the Rates – the organization behind the challenge – provides the following chart which describes where the sum of $21 a week for food comes from:


Why $21 for a Week’s food

Total welfare$610
Rent (realistic rent for an SRO)*$450
Room damage deposit$20
Book of 10 bus tickets (to look for work)$21
Cell phone (to look for work)$25
Personal hygiene/laundry$10
Total of all non-food expenditures$526
What’s left for food $84


“We cannot possibly understand or really comprehend how difficult it is and how disempowering it would be, or how disillusioned a person might get, if they really had to eat on $3 a day,” Bif Naked said at a press conference today. “$21 a week – that’s a reality. It’s not a joke.”

The challenge – for those not on welfare – starts on October 16, World Food Day. All British Columbians are invited to eat only what they can purchase with the money welfare recipients receive for one week.

WATCH: Bif Naked tells BC1 why she is participating in the 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge

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