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Disability allowances: the new dominion-provincial provisions and their social welfare implications : a review of the development and social welfare aspects of the allowances, for totally and permanently disabled, based on British Columbia experience, 1954-1957 Bodlak, Stanley Frank

Abstract

This study reviews the federal-provincial program established in 1954 for the payment of allowances for "totally and permanently" disabled persons, with particular reference to the British Columbia situation. That government has a basic responsibility to provide income-maintenance measures for economically dependent persons is a well established fact. It should no longer be necessary to argue that government has this responsibility, but rather there is and should be, argument as to how this responsibility can be best fulfilled, keeping in mind both the interests of the dependent person and the community. Traditionally, dependency has been met by two methods of social security; social insurance and social assistance. The Canadian approach, similar to that of other nations, has been to use both methods. To date, there has not been implemented in Canada, a coherent and total plan for comprehensive social security, although there have been advances in the past twenty years. The Canadian approach so far has been a categorical one. A particular group of dependent persons is selected and a program is established to provide cash and other benefits. To assess the social welfare significance of disability allowances program this study begins with an examination of the aims of social security methods, the Canadian approach to social security provision, views expressed in Parliament on the Disabled Persons Act, as well as a discussion of the Act and its implications. A simple statistical analysis of the British Columbia caseload, and an interprovincial comparison, serve to point out the similarities and differences which exist in the program's administration in Canada. A final chapter makes a preliminary study of 49 cases of disabled persons who were referred for rehabilitation services. The study indicates that a program provides only for persons who can meet a defined qualification of "totally and permanently" disabled, leaves a large gap in the provision of services to the disabled, broadly concerned. There are large numbers of persons in Canada who are economically dependent but who cannot be considered "totally and permanently” disabled. They have no alternative but to apply for this allowance if they become unemployable through disability and have no other coverage. The concept of employability has received consideration in this study, because it is intimately involved in the creation of dependency. The present disability allowance program makes no mention of employability, either in the Act or in the Regulations, yet it is of vital importance, and must be taken into consideration. The traditional approach to social welfare services is to single out a particular group of dependent persons who lack one or more employability factors. An approach wherein the problem of employability could be more generically attacked would be in the best interests of both the dependent person and the community.

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