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Canadian Social Welfare Policy

Canadian Social Welfare Policy: Federal and Provincial Dimensions

Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 206
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  • Book Info
    Canadian Social Welfare Policy
    Book Description:

    Seven experts, representing a variety of disciplinary perspectives, discuss specific reform efforts in a number of social welfare policy areas and identify the jurisdictional fremework of policy-making in Canada's federal system as a factor of significantly affects these efforts.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6123-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Jacqueline S. Ismael
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    The provision of assistance to Canadians in need is a hodge-podge of programs that vary across political jurisdictions (federal, provincial, and municipal), categories of people (the unemployed/unemployable, young/old, high risk/low risk, deserving/undeserving), and categories of need (financial assistance/service provision, maintenance/incentive, protection/rehabilitation). The effect of this maze of programs is to fragment and distort the process of providing assistance to the needy at substantial public expense. There is, as a result, increasing disillusionment with the policies of the welfare state that have evolved in Canada during this century.

    This disillusionment is reflected in the changing priorities of public policy. The political...

  5. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Chapter One Federalism, Social Policy, and the Constitution
    (pp. 1-20)

    Few things in Canadian political life have been dissected, debated, deplored, and defended as much as federalism. Federalism, it is argued, defines our national institutions, reflects our history, expresses our genius, echoes our vices, impedes our maturity, and preserves the peace. Any student embarking on a study of federalism will find the terrain well charted but battle-scarred. Canadians have made federalism into a national obsession.

    It is rarely possible, in these circumstances, to say anything original or entirely persuasive about Canadian federalism. I shall not try. Instead, this chapter’s more modest (and more prudent) task is to introduce and review...

  7. Chapter Two Income Security: The Rise and Stall of the Federal Role
    (pp. 21-28)

    It is often said of the Fathers of Confederation that they built better than they knew. And in many respects it is no doubt true. But income security is not one of them. In the case of income security, unfortunately, they built exactly as they knew. They gave jurisdiction over “charities and eleemosynary institutions” to the provinces, and displayed no clairvoyance about a coming era of universal Old Age Security pensions, let alone refundable child tax credits.

    The first federal venture into the income security field came in the wake of World War I, when Parliament recognized a need—and...

  8. Chapter Three Social Security Reform during the 1970s
    (pp. 29-47)

    Canadian social policy is in a turmoil. The indignation accompanying the discovery of pervasive poverty and the subsequent optimism connected with the Federal-Provincial Review of Social Security in the early 1970s has largely given way to economic restraint, constitutional frustration, and policy despair. Such hallmarks as the universality principle which underlie our social programs are now being questioned, and ways to change the tax system are also under active discussion. Even more significant are the series of proposals aimed at altering the grants given to the provinces by the federal government for such purposes as education, health care, income assistance,...

  9. Chapter Four Institutional Conservatism: Federalism and Pension Reform
    (pp. 48-74)

    Pension policy in Canada, as elsewhere in the western world, is under pressure. For almost a decade now, our pension system has been subjected to intensive scrutiny. Numerous advisory commissions have highlighted its deficiencies; representatives of business, labour, pensioners, and others have pressed their views on government; and politicians have argued about the best way forward. While the depth of the recession has slowed the momentum and postponed a final response, important decisions about the future of Canadian pensions will clearly be made during the second half of the 1980s.

    At the beginning of the decade, pensions seemed to represent...

  10. Chapter Five Revision and Retreat: Canadian Unemployment Insurance 1971–1981
    (pp. 75-104)

    Modern political analysis of social security programs has tended recently to emphasize two explanatory models. The first is a model of social control, which explains major social security measures as responses either to vocal working class demands or to the potential political instability created by tough economic circumstances (typically recessions or depressions). The labour management model on the other hand argues that the state implements certain programs in order to assist the accumulation process. Thus worker’s compensation, education, and even health insurance do for the accumulation process what it cannot do for itself: they maintain a relatively efficient labour force...

  11. Chapter Six Restructuring Family Allowances: “Good Politics at No Cost”?
    (pp. 105-119)

    Few contemporary observers of Canadian federalism would dispute J. R. Mallory’s claim that “governments find themselves making decisions all the time which can be effective only if taken in concert with other governments.”¹ Mallory’s remark is especially applicable to decision making in the realm of income security policy. Canada’s myriad of income security programs are so closely related that a program change initiated by one level of government will most certainly trigger changes in programs administered by other levels. The task force report prepared for the provincial ministers of social services comments that by the early 1970s “as income security...

  12. Chapter Seven The Working Poor, the Canada Assistance Plan, and Provincial Responses in Income Supplementation
    (pp. 120-138)

    In 1979 over two and one-half million Canadians lived in poverty.¹ Of greater significance is the fact that approximately 55 percent of poor families were headed by individuals in the labour force. This group is often referred to as the “working poor.”² The working poor typically receive no aid because the Canadian social assistance system assumes a clear-cut dichotomy between those who cannot or should not work (the aged, the blind, the disabled, women with small children, and so on) and those deemed able-bodied and, therefore, employable. Those capable of working are expected to meet their needs through employment; consequently...

  13. Chapter Eight Trends in Provincial Social Service Department Expenditures 1963–1982
    (pp. 139-172)

    Although there has been recurrent interest in the nature of federal support for provincial social assistance and social service programs,¹ there has been little systematic or comparative analysis of the activities of provincial social service departments in Canada. Utilizing provincial public accounts and annual reports, federally collected statistics, and other historical materials, this chapter provides a detailed comparison of developments in provincial social service departments over the period 1963–64 to 1981–82.

    The limitations of such data were identified by the Federal-Provincial Working Group on Costs of Welfare Programs, established in 1969, which cautioned against “drawing any conclusions concerning...

  14. Chapter Nine Social Welfare Development in Alberta: The Federal-Provincial Interplay
    (pp. 173-187)

    This chapter deals with the development of social welfare in Alberta in the 1960s and is primarily a case study of the relationship of the Canada Assistance Plan (cap) to the provincial programs that were to become wholly or partly shareable under the plan. It is hoped that the inquiry will shed some light on the nature of federal-provincial relationships in the development of the Canadian welfare state. Did the leadership come from the federal level, as a number of writers have suggested? Has it been cooperative or competitive; harmonious or combative? Was it based on shared or divergent objectives?...