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Home Policy Articles: Welfare & Social Issues: Dependence & Reform


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Caring for Canadians in a Canada Strong and Free

Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning discuss the “vision deficit” and “policy deficit” they consider to be evident in Canadian politics, particularly at the federal level.

COEP: Brazilian organizations

In this international community story, Ann Simpson discusses COEP – the Comitê de Entidades no Combate à Fome e Pela Vida (“Committee of entities Against Hunger and For Life”) – a Brazilian network that mobilizes organizations to combat hunger and poverty.

Denied Assistance: Closing the Front Door on Welfare in BC

While acknowledging that welfare rates in British Columbia have been lowering since 1995, Wallace, Klein and Reitsma-Street suggest that while the BC government’s discriminatory policy changes were designed to create reduction, many changes, including eligibility rules and application processes, dealt with superficial issues such as how people access welfare.

Income for Living?

In light of government suggestions to change the way the Canadian government measures poverty, by switching to a Market Basket Measure, the National Council of Welfare studies the practical effects of and the poverty line system and potential changes. Specifically the report looks at low-income people in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The study ends with a number of recommendations, not only for changes to welfare, but also for changes to affordable housing, child care, treatment of people with disabilities, and for families with children.

Policy Development and Implementation in Complex Files: Lessons from "Vibrant Communities"

This article by Sherri Torjman suggests strategies which might be used to implement complex initiatives that involve multiple objectives and sectors. She contrasts a "Vibrant Communities" case study and a federal initiative to illustrate her point.

Productivity and Popular Attitudes Towards Welfare Recipients in Saskatchewan, 1970-1990

Popular attitudes towards welfare recipients in Saskatchewan underwent significant change in the period from 1970 to 1990. Much of the reason behind this shift toward hardened and less sensitive attitudes rests with the deteriorating economic situation of the late 1970s and most of the 1980s.

Rags to Riches: How “the regions” can and should be leading Canada’s productivity push

Brian Lee Crowley’s paper Rags to Riches: How “the regions” can and should be leading Canada’s productivity push, argues that federal government policies hinder the economic convergence between less-developed provinces and the rest of Canada. Crowley claims Canada’s economy is defined by tools of government spending, transfers and “activist” economic development policy. Originally assuming unemployment is the primary policy problem in less-developed provinces, Crowley continues, these tools are no longer applicable in an economy where labour shortages and skill gaps are the new challenges.

Social Protection Reforms in Europe: Strategies for a New Social Model

This research report, by Bruno Palier, isolates major trends that are reshaping social policies in Europe, as well as policy methods and concrete reform processes.

Transitions Revisited: Implementing the Vision

John Stapleton argues for the re-implementation of key proposals set out in the landmark report, Transitions, in 1988. These proposals were initiated immediately after the report, but were disassembled in the mid- to late- 1990s.

Transitions Revisited: Implementing the Vision

In 1988, Transitions: Report of the Social Assistance Review Committee was released. It proposed a new vision for social assistance and a radically redesigned set of child benefits, a new income program for persons with disabilities, and a new direction to bring welfare recipients into the community mainstream.

Welfare Reform in Ontario: A Report Card

This study examines welfare policies in Ontario since 1985, and evaluates the welfare reforms initiated under the Conservative government, led by Premier Mike Harris, in June 1995.

What's Wrong with Equalization: Social Insurance and Moral Hazard

In What’s Wrong with Equalization: Social Insurance and Moral Hazard, Herb Grubel argues Canadian social insurance programs have led to overspending and unexpected harm to recipients. Developed to provide protection that private industry would not offer, economists believed the federal government’s social insurance system would be self-funding thanks to compulsory universal membership. Grubel, however, asserts that, to the contrary, the programs have led to dependence and stunted economic growth. Focusing his analysis on equalization payments (Canada’s ‘transfer system’), Grubel claims the reason for this is the ‘moral hazard behaviour’ encouraged by the incentive of transfer payments. Grubel concludes the Government of Canada, for the betterment of citizens and provinces receiving social insurance, should vastly decrease transfer payments, ultimately phasing them out entirely.