Resource Sections Category Tools
Errors / Omissions?

Do you see an error or want to contribute? Please contact us, or register and submit your links.

Mailing List
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive regular updates on new features, new policy areas, announcements, and more.

Home Policy Articles: Welfare & Social Issues: Page 6

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.



|< <

Towards a New Architecture for Canada's Adult Benefits

The Caledon Institute of Social Policy was created in 1992. One of its primary objectives is to modernize Canada’s social security system. It has proposed changes both to individual programs and to the very structure and function of social policy.

Towards a Solutions Budget for BC

Towards a Solutions Budget for BC calls for the 2002 British Columbia budget to avoid proposed tax and spending cuts and, instead, investments in provincial social programs and long-term future. The authors assert the Government of British Columbia’s plan to cut taxes and spending is flawed because: 1) the “fiscal crisis” experienced by the Province is the result of the Government’s massive tax cuts; 2) the decrease in both tax cuts and spending at the same time increases inequality by disproportionately affecting low-income residents; 3) the timing of the cuts is awful because the BC economy is in recession; and, 4) the Government’s plan is “a high-stakes gamble” with unsure results. The paper contends that if the Government follows through on its proposal the result will be a reduced standard of living for British Columbians. Finally, the paper concludes with a series of budgetary proposals – including investment in the resource sector, greater funding for social services, and democratization of the public sector – prescriptions to overcome the recession and improving the standard of living for all British Columbians.

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.

Trouble in Paradise? Citizen's Views on Democracy in Alberta

In this report, Trevor Harrison, William Johnston, and Harvey Krahn explore Albertans’ attitudes regarding the state of democracy in the province.

Turning to the private sector in health care: The Swedish example

In this Economic Note the authors present Sweden as an example of how Canada can use market mechanisms to increase the efficiency of Canada’s ailing health care system.

Two myths about the U.S. health care system

Common criticisms of the US health care system are the lack of universality and the high percentage of those without coverage. Norma Kozhaya deconstructs these myths.

Upstairs, Downstairs and in Between: The Assets and Debts of British Columbians

Upstairs, Downstairs and in Between: The Assets and Debts of British Columbians, by Steve Kerstetter, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, concludes that a sizeable portion of BC’s population has debts larger than their assets. Drawing on Statistics Canada’s Survey of Financial Security, Kerstetter looks at three distinct population groups: 1) ‘downstairs’ (the poorest 20 percent); 2) the middle 20 percent; and, 3) ‘upstairs’ (the richest 20 percent). He finds that only those in the ‘upstairs’ group are financially secure enough to weather major economic shocks.

Urban Poverty: Fostering Sustainable and Supportive Communities

In this paper Divay and Séguin address the spatial distribution of poverty and its effects. They also discuss issues related to fostering socially sustainable communities. The authors focus on Canada’s major urban areas, and specifically on the poor neighbourhoods of these centres. Divay and Séguin look at the neighbourhood effects of poverty, and address the question of whether living in a neighbourhood with a high concentration of poverty diminishes the life chances of a child or adult.

Using private insurance to finance health care

Valentin Petkantchin explores whether allowing private health insurance is a good idea.

Vibrant Communities Calgary: Awareness Engagement and Policy Change

Even though Calgary has experienced growth and prosperity due to the booming oil and gas industry, the gap between its richest and poorest communities is growing contend Anne Makhoul and Eric Leviten-Reid.

Vibrant Communities Edmonton: Building Economic Success

Vibrant Communities Edmonton (VCE) was created in 2002. Its efforts are modeled after the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Re-Building Communities Initiative. This American not-for-profit organization focuses on the difficulties low-income families face in trying to improve their economic fortunes.

Vibrant Communities Edmonton’s Make Tax Time Pay Campaign

Vibrant Communities is a pan-Canadian project that seeks local solutions to reduce poverty and build more caring communities. Vibrant Communities Edmonton (VCE) was seen as a useful vehicle for informing Edmonton residents about the Alberta Child Health Benefit (ACHB).

Vibrant Communities Saint John: Dismantling the Poverty Traps

Vibrant Communities Saint John (VCSJ) was founded in 2004 with support from its convenor organization, the Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative (BCAPI). VCSJ’s 10-year goal is to bring poverty in Saint John in line with the national average.

Victoria's Regional Housing Trust Fund: So Far, So Good

Anne Makhoul explains how the Capital Regional District (CRD) passed a motion in November 2004 to create a Regional Housing Trust Fund (RHTF). Municipal governments and non-profit agencies can set up housing trusts to support affordable housing options. The author outlines the history of effort and steps to establish an affordable housing trust in the region, including the Housing Affordability Partnership (HAP) and the Quality of Life CHALLENGE.

Waterloo Region’s Guaranteed Income Supplement Campaign

Despite the presence of more than 350 high-tech companies, a vibrant insurance industry, and two universities, Waterloo Region’s poverty rate was approximately 11.3 percent in 2001. In this context, Anne Makhoul focuses her attention on the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for low-income seniors, suggesting that as many as 3,000 eligible residents in Waterloo Region were not receiving the GIS.

We Can’t Afford Poverty: Ontario Alternative Budget 2006

In a response to the March 2006 Ontario provincial budget, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives presented an alternative budget that it suggested would aid in developing a stronger public service system. Financial inequalities, public service deficits, and tax cuts are the three areas of focus.

Welfare in Saskatchewan: A Critical Evaluation

This article by Jason Clemons and Chris Shafer analyzes the provision of welfare in Saskatchewan, notably through comparisons with Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and the US. Working with the basic assumption that the goal of welfare is to temporarily support those who are unable to work and facilitate their reintegration into the workforce, the authors find that Saskatchewan's welfare program has been relatively unsuccessful in its attempt to lower dependency on welfare and thus curb social spending costs. Accordingly, Clemons and Shafer argue that Saskatchewan should “end the entitlement to welfare” and implement immediate work requirements to welfare recipients in order to reverse its current spending trend.

Welfare incomes 2002

In this annual report the National Council of Welfare examines the state of welfare across the country for the year 2002. First the Council determines what welfare is in a practical sense by looking at welfare, other forms of social assistance, what is required to receive such assistance and how other factors may effect the level of need. Welfare incomes are evaluated in terms of adequacy and their long term effects. As with other years, welfare income is compared across provinces and territories.

Welfare Incomes 2003

In this report the state of welfare in Canada in 2003 is examined. The report begins by breaking down what welfare is, looking at eligibility, trends in cases, housing, special assistance, other forms of assistance and the rates of assistance. Next the adequacy of welfare payments is measured and the effects of welfare income are considered. A comparison between the provinces and territories is made.

Welfare Incomes 2004

This report on welfare incomes estimates income in four types of households: a single employable person, a single person with a disability, a single-parent family with a 2-year-old child, and a two-parent family with two children aged 10 and 15. The report uses these scenarios to find the practical assistance received in each province and territory by people who rely on welfare. Other forms of social assistance are added to the equation, but the report finds that total welfare incomes across the country fall below the poverty line. The report also looks at welfare incomes in comparison to average incomes and considers the effects of the "clawback" of National Child Benefit Supplement from welfare in certain provinces.

Welfare Reform in British Columbia: A Report Card

This article by Jason Clemons and Chris Shafer offer an in-depth comparison of the welfare reform initiative in British Columbia vis-à-vis successful reforms already in place in a federal American context. Their eight evaluation areas (ending the entitlement to welfare, diversion, immediate work requirements and sanctions, employment-focused back-to-work programs, "making work pay," administrative privatization, program delivery privatization, and non-profit sector reform) assign the current level of reform in British Columbia a “B” grade, while concluding it is “too early to claim to success but well on its way.”

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.

When Worlds Collide: Implications of International Trade and Investment Agreements for Non-Profit Social Services

Andrew Jackson and Matthew Sanger examine the implications of international trade agreements and investments on Canada’s domestic social policies. Although Canada has vowed its domestic social policies will not be compromised by international trade obligations, it has also been a leading proponent of increasing trade liberalization in the services sector.

|< <