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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The principles and aims of family allowances : a policy discussion Kitchen, Brigitte

Abstract

Family allowances are an essential component of a comprehensive social security system, for by eliminating the necessity to provide for varying numbers of dependents, they would make such programmes as unemployment insurance, sickness benefits, workmen's compensation etc. considerably more efficient and more effective. Provisions for dependent children within the scope of other social security programmes have hitherto been marginal, if they existed at all. Under such arrangements the real and pressing needs of children have only too often been sadly neglected. Furthermore, wages do not take account of family needs, and a bachelor and a father of three growing children are paid the same if they do the same kind of job. "Equal pay for equal work" may be justified in the interest of the present industrial wage-system but it certainly counters the social interest of children. As children share the material circumstances of their families, the accident of birth still retains an importance and significance as to the future of a child which do not agree with the aims of a democratic society to provide equal opportunity for all. The Marsh Report (1943) spoke of the necessity to provide a "social minimum" for children in the same way as the Canada Pension Plan sets a floor below which no-one over the age of sixty in the case of women, and no-one over the age of sixty-five in the case of men, is allowed to fall. What we could do for the aged we should do for children, for children are the most vulnerable and the most precious group of a nation. The future of the children is the future of Canada. A Ministry of Family Affairs is a much needed institution to look after the interests of children and their families. Canadian social policy will have to include a vigorous family policy in order to further the well-being of children. This thesis is an attempt in this direction.

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