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Canadian Family Policies

Canadian Family Policies: Cross-National Comparisons

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 466
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  • Book Info
    Canadian Family Policies
    Book Description:

    Bringing together research and statistics from the fields of demography, political science, economics, sociology, women's studies, and social policy, this rich, multidisciplinary study provides a unique resource for anyone interested in Canadian family policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7217-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. List of tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. 1 State intervention in family life
    (pp. 3-41)

    During the 1980s, poverty and inequality increased in most Western democracies, placing considerable strain on social welfare programs. Global trade and production have led to major changes in labour markets, resulting in unemployment, underemployment, and economic insecurity (McFate 1991, 1). As social programs, most of which were developed from the 1950s to the 1970s, become more costly, governments are questioning their ability to improve them or even to maintain them. Yet many people have come to perceive these benefits as entitlements or rights. Furthermore, an increasingly ʹglobalizedʹ economy has created more opportunities for the harmonization of social programs among countries...

  6. 2 Changing family trends
    (pp. 42-66)

    Social policy is often developed or amended when influential groups create alliances and lobby governments to resolve what they perceive to be ʹsocial problemsʹ arising from rapid economic, demographic, and social change. For example, inflation, the decline of the family wage, and increasing family poverty encouraged more wives and mothers to enter the labour force, creating the need for maternity leave, child care, and family law reform. Rising divorce rates have also decreased the incomes of one-parent families. Most families who became poor in the 1980s, however, did so because of labour market changes rather than changes in family status...

  7. 3 Poverty, labour markets, and social assistance
    (pp. 67-122)

    In Canada, in 1992, over 18 per cent of the population, or 1.2 million people, lived in families with an income below the poverty line (National Council of Welfare 1994a). The most widely used indicator of child poverty has been the percentage of children living in low-income families, based on various measures of low income, or ʹpoverty linesʹ (these will be discussed later). Other indicators of child poverty would be the percentage of children living on social assistance, the frequency with which families with children rely on food banks, and high rates of infant and child morbidity and mortality.


  8. 4 Child allowances and family tax concessions
    (pp. 123-155)

    What political, social, and economic factors influence government decisions to provide child and family benefits and to choose different delivery mechanisms? Do countries with universal child allowances provide more generous benefits than those that focus on tax concessions? In this chapter, I attempt to answer these questions by examining the development of family or child allowances and various tax concessions for families with dependent children in Canada and the other countries in the study.

    Most governments in this study provide a combination of child allowances and tax concessions to compensate parents partially for the financial costs of child-rearing. Some governments...

  9. 5 Maternity/parental leave and benefits
    (pp. 156-188)

    A generation ago, most children were raised at home during their preschool years by their mothers. In the last two decades, however, an increasing number of mothers with young children have been drawn into the labour force in many industrialized countries because one income can no longer purchase the same standard of living it did in the 1950s.

    As was noted in chapter 2, the proportion of married women in the Canadian labour force has risen dramatically in the last twenty years while the proportion of married men has fallen slightly. Among married people aged thirty-five to forty-four, for example,...

  10. 6 Child care delivery and support
    (pp. 189-235)

    Non-family day care for preschool children originates from three traditions in the countries of this study. Since the nineteenth century, preschool or nursery school has been seen as a necessary and enriching part of early education, especially in Europe. Parents in all the countries have sent their children to kindergarten or preschool to develop the discipline and basic skills necessary for full-time school attendance and to enrich their early development. Private preschools have been especially valued in North America by middle- and upper-income parents.

    The second tradition is day care developed for children from low-income inner-city families, especially in the...

  11. 7 Child protection, family violence, and substitute care
    (pp. 236-290)

    Historians disagree about the treatment of European and North American children in previous centuries because the available evidence is scarce and comes mainly from art, the history of costume, literature, and religious writings. Parents appear to have altered the way they interacted with children over time with the evolution of religious ideas, demographic trends, and the importance of childrenʹs labour to the economy (M. Baker 1993b, 168). The period between childhood and adulthood appears to have been lengthened with industrialization, as child labour was abolished and workers were expected to acquire more formal schooling. In addition, ideas have changed about...

  12. 8 Divorce laws, child custody, and child support
    (pp. 291-331)

    Changing gender roles, the rise of dual-earner families, and greater expectations of personal fufilment in marriage have heightened the stresses on modern marriage. The demand for easier divorce led to legislative change in many countries, but policies concerning spousal support, division of matrimonial property, and child support have remained contentious. In this chapter, the focus will be on the determination of child support amounts and the enforcement of court-awarded child support awards. First, however, I examine some trends in marriage and divorce laws, the division of matrimonial property, and child custody, both in Canada and in the other countries studied....

  13. 9 The effectiveness of family and social policies
    (pp. 332-376)

    The central question of this book has been why some countries are more generous than others in creating policies which seek to enhance the quality of family life or place a social value on child-rearing. In each chapter, it has been noted that the European countries have developed such policies earlier in the century and with more generosity than Canada and the English-speaking countries. The United States stands out as the only country which has never developed a universal family allowance or statutory maternity/parental benefits.

    Chapter 1 looked at explanations of the uneven development of family policies. A combination of...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 377-382)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 383-448)
  16. Index
    (pp. 449-466)