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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Emergence of Social Security in Canada

Third Edition

This book analyzes the major influences shaping the Canadian welfare state. A central trend in Canadian social security over most of the twentieth century has been a shift from a “residual” to an “institutional” concept. The residual approach, which dominated until the Second World War, posited that the causes of poverty and joblessness were to be found within individuals and were best remedied by personal initiative and reliance on the private market. However, the dramatic changes brought about by the Great Depression and the Second World War resulted in the rise of an institutional approach to social security. Poverty and joblessness began to be viewed as the results of systemic failure, and the public began to demand that governments take action to establish front-rank institutions guaranteeing a level of protection against the common risks to livelihood. Thus, the foundations of the Canadian welfare state were established. The Emergence of Social Security in Canada is both an important historical resource and an engrossing tale in its own right, and it will be of great interest to anyone concerned about Canadian social policy.

406 pages

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables



1 The Emergence of Social Security in Canada: Major Themes

2 The Colonial Inheritance

3 Saving for a Rainy Day: Social Security in Late-Nineteenth-Century and Early-Twentieth-Century Canada

4 The First Stage of the Modern Era: Workers’ Compensation in Ontario

5 The Social Impact of the First World War

6 The 1920s: No Priorities for Welfare

7 The Depression Decade: Cracking the Residual Mould

8 The Second World War: Catalyst for Social Security Advances

9 The 1950s: “Our Conservative Decade”

10 The 1960s: Filling the Gaps

11 Stemming a Residual Tide

12 Unfinished Business: The Social Security Review of 1973 to 1976

13 Social Security in the 1980s

14 A Sombre Anniversary

15 Debating the Future of Social Securty





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