Blue Line

Vancouver police report on ‘social safety net’ spending under fire from councillor

November 9, 2022  By The Canadian Press

Nov. 9, 2022, Vancouver, B.C. – A report commissioned by the Vancouver Police Department says $5 billion a year is being spent on the city’s “social safety net,” but is being criticized by a city councillor over its methodology and for “stigmatizing” the Downtown Eastside.

The $142,000 report by Alberta-based HelpSeeker Technologies says the spending on Vancouver’s social safety net includes $1 million a day in the Downtown Eastside.

It lands on the sum of $5 billion after including items like the Vancouver police and fire budgets, federal supports such as pensions for all residents of the city, and the budgets of some non-profits and charities that provide services to the entire province.

Coun. Pete Fry says the report uses inaccurate methodology and worries its conclusions will be used to justify cuts to services.


He says the report is framed to focus on the Downtown Eastside in a polarizing way and has eroded his trust in the police force.

Police Chief Adam Palmer denies the report’s numbers are misleading or inflated and suggests spending is actually higher.

Palmer is calling for a centralized entity, led by a provincial minister or deputy minister, to oversee and co-ordinate services in the Downtown Eastside.

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