• A Renewed Voice for Social Canada

    The federal government’s promised poverty reduction strategy must be more than a one-time commitment. It must provide for independent continuing appraisal and reappraisal of where we are and where we need to be, as the economy and society change. This paper proposes that the Government of Canada, as part of its poverty reduction strategy, put in place a new ‘institution’ provisionally called the Canadian Council on Inclusion and Wellbeing.

  • Social workers failing Toronto’s homeless

    … caseworkers seem to think their job starts and ends with meeting a client the one time it takes to get them on OW. What about the service plan they’re supposed to develop and regularly update to give clients the training or supports they may need to get back on their feet?“ … The city and the (Ontario) government need to step up” … Ontario Works (people) are not doing their jobs to get us back on our feet.”

  • Homeless battled unsafe shelters during the Great Depression

    Late in 1938… Mayor Day had introduced new requirements for single unemployed men using the hostels… The men were expected to work seven hours in return for a week’s lodging and food at Wellington House and other institutions for the homeless. Thought of paying the out-of-work for their labour on the relief project was judged beyond consideration… some who undertook their seven hours work were actually turned away from city hostels, which were filled to capacity.

  • Can giving everyone free money reduce the stigma of a guaranteed income?

    Rather than leading to social collapse, the program just helped a small number of people overlooked by or ineligible for the welfare of the 1970s. Governments at that time, the authors point out, had not yet removed the dumbest clawbacks and “welfare traps” from their social programs. The effects on participation from a permanent basic income might be smaller now.

  • Caring for vulnerable children starts with caring for parents

    … the government’s flawed information on homeless births is not only a problem of inadequate data collection. It is also a symptom of a greater issue: the stigma attached to homelessness which impedes pregnant, homeless women from disclosing their status and seeking support… To address the root of this issue the province should make access to housing support more readily available to pregnant women and integrate such services within the health care system to encourage women to reach out rather than conceal their challenges.

  • Who Do We Think Of as Poor?

    … media professionals tend to portray poverty as if it is rare for anyone but black Americans… [which] can suggest that black suffering is a natural fact rather than a manufactured problem we should correct… it fosters resentment against communities of color from economically struggling whites, who have some reason to feel their hardship is played down. And this all creates a political problem: the obliteration of the common ground that being poor can help illuminate across racial lines

  • Ontario to change child support law to give adult children with disabilities access to parental cash

    In his precedent-setting decision, Justice William Sullivan agreed with Robyn Coates that Ontario’s Family Law Act discriminates against adult children with disabilities because it denies them access to child support. Under provincial law, which governs unmarried parents, adult children are eligible for child support only if they are in school full-time. But under the federal Divorce Act, an adult child who is unable to live independently due to disability, illness or other cause is also eligible for support as long as they need it.

  • We can’t afford not to provide a new social safety net

    … what people need to begin wrapping their heads around is what happens when the labour market is turned on its head by robotics, throwing tens of millions of people out of work in the process. This is not some dystopian fiction… At this point, however, UBI [universal basic income] remains a deep, utopian fantasy to most people, its future bogged down by eye-rolling cynicism and distrust.

  • It’s time to tear down the “welfare wall” for persons with disabilities

    … plenty can be done by both the federal and provincial/territorial governments to tear down the “welfare wall.” … Ottawa could assume responsibility for income security for persons with disabilities, whether they are working or not… The shift to federal authority would result in a windfall savings to provinces and territories… [which] would help Ottawa achieve its twin goals of poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

  • Dismantling the Welfare Wall for Persons with Disabilities 

    For most Canadians with disabilities, the promise of the social security system far exceeds its performance, especially for persons with severe impairment. Many cannot qualify for public or private insurance because the eligibility criteria require employment or the programs are delivered as a workplace benefit. Thousands of individuals with serious disabilities end up on social assistance or welfare – the leanest of Canada’s social programs.