History of Social Assistance and Basic Income

Events

Government Enacts 'Canada Assistance Plan'

1966

Beginning of social assistance legislation in Canada and "entitlement" model (as compared to discretionary model)

MINCOME

1974

Dauphin, Manitoba undertakes Canada's first test of basic income, giving every resident of Dauphin a top-up should their income fall below the poverty line (adjusted for family size/structure; increased annually). Went until 1978. Cost: $17 million. Result: Reduced negative social determinants of health.

Economic Recession

1987

'Transitions' Report Released

1988

Most influential policy document on welfare. Suggested a right to assistance based on need and argued that social assistance should be only one part of broader anti-poverty strategy.

Mike Harris Promises Cuts to Welfare in Election Campaign

1995

Harris promises "Common Sense Revolution," which slashed allowances, disqualified tens of thousands of people from assistance, created more onerous privacy intrusions, and cut funding for community services and supports.

SAMS Implemented for OW/ODSP

2014

Social Assistance Management System (i.e. HAL 9000), a computer program that workers have had difficulty overriding and managing, and that has caused unwarranted over-payments for clients (who then get cut off).