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Home Policy Articles: Welfare & Social Issues: Page 2

The ability for Canadian governments to provide assistance and create opportunities for the less advantaged members of society is based on an extensive system of social services in Canada. However, many public policy experts argue that there is always room for improvement when it comes to the provision of social services. Welfare and social policy examines such topics as housing policy, privatization of service delivery, the increasing demands on services as a result of an ageing population, and social security reform.

This section of is your window to welfare and social policy debates in Canada.



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Child Tax Deception: the Proposed Child Tax Deduction

Ken Battle considers the federal Conservative Party’s child tax deduction proposal to be “retrograde and regressive.”

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.

Community Development in the Upper Skeena: Death Feasts and Transformative Change

To encourage innovative, technology-based learning, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) created the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) in 1996. In this community story Doug Donaldson and Anne Docherty describe how they secured OLT funds for a three-year action research project.

Community Initiation of Welfare-to-Work

Christopher Leo and Todd Andres argue that recent changes in the global economy have increased productivity, thereby creating new ways to generate wealth and create economic growth.

Cost Shift: How British Columbians are Paying for Their Tax Cut

As Sylvia Fuller and Lindsay Stephens describe in Cost Shift: How British Columbians are Paying for Their Tax Cut, the first order of business for the newly elected Liberal government in BC was a massive tax cut. According to Fuller and Stephens, the cuts have left a massive gap in government revenue. The authors argue this revenue gap, in tandem with the Liberals’ campaign promise to produce a balanced budget by 2004-05, has necessitated spending cuts to a number of programs. In addition to these cuts, Fuller and Stephens claim the government has engaged in ‘cost-shifting,’ transferring the expense of various services and programs from the public to individuals, families and employers.

Culture and Recreation: Links to Well-Being

Sherri Torjman explores how culture and recreation contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. This paper is part of a series on Vibrant Communities, a pan-Canadian initiative that seeks local solutions for poverty reduction.

Current Issues Surrounding Poverty and Welfare Programming in Canada: Two Reviews

This first article, by Garson Hunter, is entitled Race to the Bottom: Welfare to Work Programming in Saskatchewan, and its Similarities to Programming in the United States and Britain. Hunter argues that Canada has developed a hybrid welfare programming model – one that is based on the US model of welfare programming and blended with ideology borrowed from British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Third Way welfare approach.

Demographic Trends and Socio-Economic Sustainability in Saskatchewan: Some Policy Considerations

In this paper Janice Stokes studies the unique demographic makeup of Saskatchewan and discusses some of the negative implications it may have on the socio-economic stability of the province including a dwindling workforce, a strain on healthcare and problematic race relations.

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.

Disability Tax Fairness

The Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities was appointed in 2003. The Committee’s mandate was to recommend how the federal government could improve the treatment of persons with disabilities under the income system.

Disability Tax: The Budget's Quiet Little Secret

Sherri Torjman suggests the 2005 federal budget will be remembered for the drama surrounding it and for the big-ticket items such as child care, cities and environmental technologies.

Divided and Distracted: Regionalism as Obstacle to Reducing Poverty and Inequality

Armine Yalnizyan authors this yearly report from Social Watch, a civil society research and monitoring initiative developed to examine the work of governments in eradicating poverty and reducing inequality.

Drug Price Controls and Pharmaceutical Innovation

Drug costs in Canada have risen more quickly than other health care costs. As Valentin Petkantchin explains, this increase is not due to increases by multinational pharmaceutical companies, but rather to other factors including more frequent use of drugs and higher markups at the wholesale and retail levels.

Elder Care: The Nexus for Family, Work and Health Policy

Satya Brink presented this paper at an annual conference of the Canadian Association of Gerontology in Montreal in October 2002. In her paper, she discusses the wide-reaching impact of elder care on individuals, families, work, and public policy.

Engaging Disenfranchised Groups in Urban Health

Sherri Torjman presented this paper at the International Conference on Urban Health held in Boston in October 2004. She addressed the issue of urban health and disenfranchised groups from the perspective of the Vibrant Communities project.

Evaluation Framework for Federal Investment in the Social Economy: A Discussion Paper

This discussion paper presents a Results-Based Accountability Framework for the Social Economy Pilot Initiatives announced in the 2004 federal budget.

Exploring the Promise of Asset-Based Social Policies: Reviewing Evidence from Research and Practice

This paper explores the potential benefits of polices which aim to increase assets for low income earners. The paper includes discussions of asset-based polices, the challenges they entail and future directions for research in the area. Throughout the paper consideration of poverty reduction and social exclusion are a focus.

Financial Capability and Poverty

This discussion paper considers the connection between exclusion and poverty in light of financial literacy and financial capability. First, these components are defined as including an understanding of the financial basics, confidence in that knowledge and the ability to act fiscally responsible. These traits are learned and therefore those who are excluded from mainstream society are less likely to acquire such knowledge. Naturally the report make the connection between poetry and exclusion, and exclusion and deepening poverty.

Fragile Recovery: The State of Public Services in Manitoba

A number of contributors helped prepare this Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report which assesses the state of Manitoba’s public services – including health care, education, emergency services, parks, libraries, and cultural institutions.

Framing the Canadian Social Contract: Integrating Social, Economic and Political Values Since 1940

This report by Greg Clarke and David Laycock lays out an “analytical framework for understanding key dimensions of post-war thinking about the implicit Canadian social contract.” The social contract entails for the authors, among other things, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and Canada’s sense of responsibility towards the rest of the world. The authors subsequently outline the three major social contract models in Canadian public discourse as well as the trade-offs each entails.

Getting the Balance Right: Saskatchewan Alternative Budget, 2006-07

This alternative Saskatchewan budget, presented by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, focuses on three areas that the Centre considers undervalued: economic security, health services, and education.

Government and Communities: Strengthening Neighbourhoods Together

This paper discusses the lessons learned during the Action for Neighbourhood Change (ANC) project. According to Cheryl Gorman, the project was able to broadly share information on substantive policies, the “systems of support” approach to strengthening neighbourhoods, and relationship-building.

Health Care Spending, Fiscal Sustainability, and Public Investment

In his study “Health Care Spending, Fiscal Sustainability, and Public Investment,” Joe Ruggeri, Director of the Policy Studies Centre at the University of New Brunswick, analyzes three major issues on the debate on health care policy in Canada.

Home Insecurity: The State of Social Housing Funding in BC

Recent trends in social housing in BC suggest that the issue of social housing funding has gained new urgency. According to John Irwin, senior levels of government have largely abandoned the social housing field, leaving those people who cannot afford housing, or who do not already have access to existing social housing programs, to fend for themselves.

Home Truths: Why the Housing System Matters to All Canadians

The book’s introduction is available as a PDF, however, the entire book can only be purchased from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). In this book, author Andrew Jackson outlines links between housing and the well-being of all Canadians. He argues that Canada lacks an overarching policy framework to give housing a proper place on the policy agenda.

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