Canada's Problems in Relief and Assistance
Publication
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 19 Mar 1936, p. 306-320
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Canada's Problems in Relief and Assistance


Canada's problems in welfare and assistance restricted neither to urban nor rural areas, to east nor west, to north nor south. An illustrative anecdote to convey the nature and extent of Canada's challenge in the problem of maternal care and of infant mortality. The record of various major health centres, such as the Toronto General Hospital to show that we have the knowledge to save lives and protect health but we need the skill to plan and the means to serve. More figures and illustrations to portray the situation with regard to problems in the care and protection of the child born out of wedlock, the unmarried mother, the families who have lost the adult man through fishing accidents or respiratory diseases from mining. A picture of the average small family home in Canada. The Canadian scene back of the development of Mothers' Allowances, back of the evolution of the constructive Workmen's Compensation laws. Some examples of the work of the Victorian Order Nurses and the Children's Aid Society. The complex nature of some of the problems of providing care and protection for children. Legal problems with regard to guardianship. Problems of delinquency. The situation for the aged. Problems encountered with both rural and city relief. The problem of idle youth, whether on relief or idle and dependent on their families. Some "totals" figures. The low income worker. The need to see our problems clearly, to lift them clear of political interest, manoeuvring and exploitation, to realize that a State cannot treat its dependents better than its earning contributing taxpayers of low income. The need to introduce the contributory principle and sound actuarial practice, wherever measures of social assistance can be made susceptible thereto, and, most important of all, see our problems in their human elements. The need also to realize that happiness, satisfaction and adjustment can be expressed in terms of other than material success alone. Assuring to all our people a minimum of opportunity, with its standard as high as the resources of the community which assures it can provide. Realizing that there is a limit to that capacity, and also that the very claim that the individual has upon the community for the community's care and assistance in need, must, if the State is to survive, carry an inescapable corollary of service and obligation from the individual to the community and the State. Solving our problems of social need and assistance entirely to the extent that we face them with intelligence, knowledge, courage and determination.