Effect of income assistance on substance use and psychiatric emergency admission rates in Vancouver

From February 2016

This study will undertake a retrospective analysis of the emergency department admissions to evaluate temporal patterns in relation to income assistance cheque issue dates. Anonymized emergency department data gathered from April 2005 to March 2013 from St. Paul’s Hospital and Mount Saint Joseph Hospital in Vancouver will be analyzed. 

Every individual who receives income or disability assistance in British Columbia collects a monthly cheque. Cheque payments are issued on the same predetermined date, usually the last or second last Wednesday of the month. Studies suggest that income assistance cheque issue dates are associated with higher emergency department admission rates for acute injury, substance use and mental health disorders. Some researchers have identified this phenomenon as the “cheque effect”. The findings from this study aim to better understand the “cheque effect” and contribute to evidence that will improve outcomes in this area. 

Research Partners:

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto.

Contact Info:

Patrick Lombardo patrick.lombardo@sfu.ca