History of Social Assistance and Basic Income


Government Enacts 'Canada Assistance Plan'


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



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


'Transitions' Report Released


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


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


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).