Canada Needs a Universal Right to a Minimum Income

Canada Needs a Universal Right to a Minimum Income


Table of Contents

Historical Development of Public-Assistance Programs______________________________

The Scope of the Definition of Poverty____________________________________________

Poverty and Negative Social Implications_________________________________________

Is Financial Security a Part of Human Dignity?____________________________________

The Economics of Poverty: It’s Just Not Working…_________________________________

Canadian Trends: Even A Dual-Income Household Doesn’t Preclude Poverty______

Canadian Welfare: The Last Door to Knock on_____________________________________

A Framework for Forwarding Progress____________________________________________

A Case for Human Rights Discrimination__________________________________________


“Failure to tackle the poverty and exclusion facing millions of families and their children is not only socially reprehensible, but will also weigh heavily on countries’ capacity to sustain economic growth in the future.”[1]


This paper will examine the intersection between poverty and the Canadian human rights protected grounds of discrimination in an attempt to demonstrate the immediate necessity of a more comprehensive, universal, government-provided public assistance program. Poverty intersects with sex, gender, ethnicity, family status, age, disability, health, dignity and social condition. By examining the legal and material issues experienced by the impoverished, it can be inferred that a universal guaranteed income will provide a net benefit to Canadians. Furthermore, even though litigation should be a last-resort to policy reform of this magnitude, an analysis of how and why litigation could produce an improved public assistance program which would efficiently alleviate a broad scope of adversities and discrimination towards individuals and groups at risk of experiencing poverty.

Historical Development of Public-Assistance Programs

Borrowing a historical view on public assistance programs we gain some insight into the underlying premises and policy assumptions built into the development of social welfare in Canadian society. Public assistance programs began in England in 1601 when Statute 43 Elizabeth 1, Chapter 2 was the first statute passed which provided direct governmental relief for the poor.[2] An analysis of this law highlights the dichotomy between the able-bodied and impotent poor, where able-bodied were put to work, children were apprenticed, and direct-relief was limited to the impotent poor – qualified by their inability to work. The ‘direct-relief’ category, however, excluded those who were temporarily unable to participate in the labour marketplace because of unemployment or other exigencies.

The Elizabethan law’s emphasis on putting the able-bodied poor to work manifested a social attitude that the poor had to be regulated and socialized along the norms of the dominant culture. The responsibility for the provision of relief was placed on the local branch of government, causing those burdened to be concerned or hostile towards needy newcomers. This policy’s structure, and underlying assumptions utilized by the government, resulted in what we might describe as adverse effects towards the poor, and “we can perceive the persistence of [these] policy assumptions throughout centuries to the present.”[3]

The Scope of the Definition of Poverty

Poverty is the status of having inadequate resources (money) as well as the lack of ability to operate effectively in the labour marketplace. This status is often characterized by unequal bargaining power and the inability of the poor to purchase goods and services. Put another way, this issue may be viewed as the inability of the marketplace to provide adequate goods and services to the poor.[4] Poverty is conventionally alleviated by debt and its associated direct and indirect obligations, or by receiving an income sufficient to avoid material deprivation.

Material deprivation, or a lack of socially-perceived necessities, is characterized by the exclusion from the minimum acceptable way of life in one’s own society because of inadequate resources. Material deprivation is the lack of ability to afford those items that are typical in their society and is indicated by: overcrowding, inadequate heating, constrained food decisions, and arrears on important household bills.[5]

Poverty and Negative Social Implications

Entry into poverty is associated with family- and job-related events, and it makes a big difference to individuals whether low-income situations are just for a short-period or poverty is recurring, persistent, or even permanent. Older individuals, women, and workless households are more vulnerable to chronic poverty (i.e. being either recurrently or persistently poor).[6] This means that due to breakdowns in relationships, or exigent circumstances in one’s family or workplace, individuals who are not advantaged by abundant wealth are vulnerable to poverty. Poverty risks are exponentially raised when members of historically disadvantaged groups experience negative family- or job-related events, resulting in perpetuating stereotypes due to their increased likelihood of experiencing longer-term poverty.

Once an individual is experiencing poverty they should be considered a vulnerable person, and more likely to engage a fiduciary responsibility. For individuals seeking welfare, social workers can exert a substantial influence while acting as the personification of an individual’s major/only source of income. The result can produce conformity of an individual’s living patterns to the perceived wishes of the caseworker to avoid harassment and carry favour for potential extra benefits.[7] “If a person is needy and wishes to receive public assistance, that person will seek to bring himself within the established category in order to be eligible.”[8] Furthermore, “The predominance of informal institutions in the lives of the poor can leave them vulnerable to corruption, exploitation, bureaucratic meddling, the strong arm of the law, and criminals.”[9]

The threat of poverty is inherent to capitalism, it is a means by which individuals are motivated to join the labour market, be productive, and accumulate capital. Thankfully, many OECD countries have experienced a change in their conceptualization of poverty to view it as “a multi-dimensional phenomenon that stretches beyond income to include inadequate access to learning, housing, poor health, and recourse to debt to meet ordinary living expenses.”[10]

Unfortunately, current trends report that “employment remains as always the sin qua non for good life chances, but the requirements for access to quality jobs are rising and are likely to continue to do so.”[11] The trend of rising barriers to education further decreases future access to employment which has the potential to disproportionately impact those living in poverty by effectively preventing them from attempting to enter the labour market. Poverty risks have seen a significant shift away from elderly people towards younger people;[12] this poses further issues for young people and graduates entering the labour market, especially with the evaporation of mandatory retirement and anticipated future job-growth stagnation due to automation. A guaranteed income, however, would shrink the risk of furthering inequality, set a formal minimum standard of living for its citizens, and if set at a sufficient level – would revolutionize Canadian society as a whole.

Is Financial Security a Part of Human Dignity?

In 2001, 80% of women and 63% of men with disabilities reported income of less than $30,000, giving an average annual income of $21,545. This data shows that individuals with disabilities were twice as likely as able-bodied working-age adults to subsist closer to or at the poverty level and half as likely to maintain full-year employment.[13]

In Canada, greater attention is needed in regards to the economic integrity of the disabled. Charter jurisprudence embodies an economic understanding of disability and hence perpetuates the economic inequalities of persons with disabilities.[14] The economic perspective on disability is described as viewing persons with disabilities as ‘abnormal’ because of their impairment, and their value is further discounted because they are perceived as incapable of contributing to the labour market and pose a financial burden on society.[15] Arguably, the focus should be examining the true disadvantages deeply entrenched in the systematic discrimination existing in society.

In regards to CPP disability benefits under consideration in Granovsky[16], “imported into the court’s human dignity analysis is the ‘only the severely disabled are the truly needy’ stereotype implicit in the economic model of disability.”[17] This view implies the disabled are defective, devalues them as a liability, underestimates their ability to participate in the labour market, and inflates the cost of disability-related accommodation.[18] This negative stereotype strongly influenced the SCC’s restrictive interpretation of the objectives of the CPP program. Their analysis relied heavily on the rationale that the CPP is a self-funded, contributory scheme – applying the adage that “one reaps the fruits of one’s own labour” without taking in the individual’s greater context and experiences.[19] Under a contributory, social-protection scheme which offers more benefits as more is contributed, the result is a disproportionate benefit to higher-earners causing inequalities and class differences to persist.[20]

The court’s final decision indicates an exclusion of financial security for persons with disabilities from the concept of human dignity.[21] The court embodies the economic perception of disability where it implicitly penalized Mr. Granovsky for not fitting the stereotypical mold of either the able-bodied or severely disabled claimant. By regarding him as culpable for not being able to overcome his temporary disability and improve his economic status by increasing his participation in the workforce. Furthermore, a section 15 analysis was said to result in a legitimate denial of CPP benefits for persons with psychiatric disabilities or degenerative diseases who may be in and out of the workforce because of the variable nature of their condition.[22] This demonstrates the Canadian judiciary’s perpetuation of a centuries-old stereotype of generalizations and assumptions of need.

A prior decision in Eldridge[23] highlighted the persistent operation of stereotypes in the fact that persons with disabilities are routinely excluded from mainstream educational, economic and cultural opportunities, and are among the poorest and most marginalized in Canadian society.[24] The SCC articulates a narrow equality right for persons with disabilities that disassociates financial security from human-dignity, essentially claiming that financial security is not essential enough to deny human dignity. “The court’s conclusion… appears oblivious to the harsh reality of poverty and isolation that is often part of living with a disability.”[25]

The Economics of Poverty: It’s Just Not Working…

The law of diminishing marginal returns is a law of economics that states an increasing number of new capital input causes the marginal product of further capital input to be smaller than the marginal product of the previous influx of capital at some point. This theory, if used in an income-distribution model, demonstrates that a guaranteed minimum income achieved through redistribution would provide a net benefit to the majority of Canadians as a transfer from the affluent to the poor is likely to increase the sum of the two persons’ utilities. With integrated banking technology, and the digitization of money, the costs of redistribution are shrinking.

In economic theory, an individual’s most valuable inherent asset is their person or body, and when they engage in work they produce capital, or money. “The ‘missing-link’ necessary to convert an asset into capital is a functioning – universal and streamlined – property system… Accordingly, any asset whose economic aspects are not fixed in a formal property system is categorized as ‘dead capital’ and is extremely hard to transfer efficiently in the market.”[26] Therefore, by adopting an economic perspective, a person is thought to be ‘dead capital’ if they are incapable of engaging in productive work – without universal protections to their ability to maintain their body (i.e. basic necessities for living) – the individual’s most valuable asset. Additionally, once unable to work, an individual experiences further detriment by a reduced ability to find future work.

The Canadian legal system’s close relationship with capitalism, exacerbated by an economic valuation system which fundamentally distorts our perception of “family” – one of the most influential factors for individual economic stability – has resulted in a constant avoidance of a right to a minimum income. “The culture of capitalism undervalues the economic worth of child-rearing activities and domestic production at the same time it advances a rational approach to decision making which distorts the costs and benefits of bearing children… Family-friendly welfare policies create incentives that reinforce the norms and values of capitalism.”[27] Furthermore, in calculating a country’s GDP there is no cash-value assigned to ‘non-paid family work’, which accounts for roughly 50% of a society’s economic activity. This has led to trends in market-outsourced household production which is described as producing a result which “revolutionizes the economic structure” of a country.”[28] This revolution of household-outsourcing is already taking place; it is driven by foundational principles in our legal system, and will effectively increase inequality without government interference at some level.

Conventional economic tools are failing as Canadian society is developing at a much higher rate than its legal system. Studies have demonstrated that raising the minimum wage risks spillover effects, and tax-credits are not effective in combatting poverty. “Not a single advanced economy achieves a low poverty rate with a low level of social spending… Target transfers primarily on the poor have less of an impact on poverty than universal systems.”[29] In Ontario, welfare targets individuals whom the government insists must eventually be encouraged to re-join the labour pool, yet “the impact of boosting labour participation… would have Canada ending up with higher hypothetical poverty rates.”[30] The outdated ideologies underpinning Canadian public assistance schemes must be removed; there is no evidence to demonstrate effective poverty reduction if financial assistance is only provided to a narrow subset of those in need.

Canadian Trends: Even A Dual-Income Household Doesn’t Preclude Poverty

Canada’s poverty rate ranks 12th highest among OECD countries, and continues to maintain above-average poverty rates, with below-average gaps between the poverty threshold and the mean income of the poor.[31] Poverty rates in Canada increased between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s which reversed Canada’s earlier progress. Between the mid-1980s and mid-2000s Canada experienced a cumulative net-increase in poverty trends.[32]

In 2008, the Canadian benchmark median-income level was roughly $25,000, while the average income of the bottom decile was about $8,000.[33] Making the average poor Canadian’s income well-below any internationally comparable benchmark due to the inequitable government-determined benefit levels. “Many countries with benefits below 40% of the median income indeed have the largest proportions of persons under this income threshold”[34]. “In order to be feasible and legitimate, a policy-relevant threshold must to an extent be embedded in an absolute notion of destitution and incapacity to satisfy one’s basic needs.”[35] Richer-countries should be at the 60% threshold of a standardized median income as a measurement of the resources required for a minimum acceptable way of life.

“The poverty rate of households with no workers is above 50% [in Canada]”[36] and is growing annually by three percentage points, on average. The poverty rate for households with one worker is increasing, while rates for households with two or more workers remains roughly the same. “For persons in jobless households, the effect of net benefits in reducing poverty is lowest [in Canada]… the poverty reducing effect of taxes and transfers is much smaller for people of working-age and even less for children.”[37]

The Canadian institutions currently operating to reduce poverty are blatantly inefficient due to their narrow target towards the unemployed. In Canada, 10% of low-paid, full-time (full-year) employees were found to be in poor households in 2010. Additionally, “a proportion of households would live in financial poverty if they did not have the income from a low-paid job in the household income package.” [38] Demonstrating that even though employed, Canadians may still require financial assistance to achieve self-reliance and avoid perpetuated poverty conditions.

“What matters most in advanced economies is the combined labour market position of the household package. Single-earnership has become a poverty risk in an era in which the average living standard, and hence the relative poverty threshold, is increasingly determined by the living standard of double-earner households… In-work poverty is more a phenomenon tied to socio-demographic (more single-person and single-parent households) and sociological change (rising female participation) than to economic change (deindustrialization, globalization, etc.).”[39] Therefore, an “anti-poverty strategy should not be restricted to setting adequate social assistance amounts, but should also include adequate access criteria and implementation practices.”[40]

Canadian Welfare: The Last Door to Knock on

Social welfare is a means by which a state government intervenes with the socio-political model of free-market capitalism, upon which Canada was built. The provision of income related to unemployment, or an individual’s inability to secure work in the labour market, is a mechanism which inherently proves the failures of the government and private-sector to exist within a purely capitalist framework. “Social security has to a great extent replaced individual savings, capital investments, and private insurance policies.”[41] These categories are significant variables used in the calculation of a country’s GDP, demonstrating the increasing scope of governments’ ability to utilize public assistance payments to influence their economy overall.

Canadian legislation and jurisprudence confirms an inherent capitalist perspective of the poor as the underpinnings of government policy decision-making regarding poverty. The Canadian government webpage on employment and social development states: “Welfare is the social safety net of last resort in Canada. It provides money to meet the basic needs of individuals and families who have exhausted all other means of financial support… These amounts are often set arbitrarily and do not necessarily reflect the actual cost of necessities.” [42] This policy-description encapsulates the governments’ idea that Canadians should only expect government welfare assistance once they have nowhere else to turn and, once approved, the amount you receive may not be enough to afford minimum living standards.

Under the federal Employment Insurance Act[43] maximum yearly insurable earnings are capped at $39,000, less than 50% of a Canadian family’s median income. Some calculations ignore any subjective financial benefit an individual may have accrued through use of an objective “Average Weekly Earnings” determined Statistics Canada. There are several statutory exemptions which disproportionately affects those experiencing poverty by denying income protection to individuals involved in employment of an informal or casual nature, and that constitutes an exchange of work and/or services (bartering).

The Ontario government’s public assistance scheme, the Ontario Works Act[44], was enacted in 1997 with a purpose of establishing a program that provides temporary financial assistance to those in need while they find work; their legislated commitment to effectively serve people needing assistance should be interpreted as a positive obligation to meet one’s basic needs. A calculation of benefits and eligibility of individuals is determined on a case-by-case basis with some enumerated exclusions. Categories of individuals excluded from benefits in OW include individuals with any direct access to financial assistance, for example, single full-time students who qualified for a government student-loan and dependent adults. Recipients who eventually qualify may be forced to participate in one or more “employment assistance activities”, could be subjected to random visits without notice, and must be making reasonable efforts to obtain compensation or realize a financial resource or income to remain eligible. Furthermore, benefits may be reduced or revoked by an amount which, in the administrator’s opinion, would have been available if the recipient had given a reasonable effort.

These conditions for welfare eligibility indicate that the government is essentially paying helpless individuals to attempt to attain employment of some kind. The payment levels however, are often arbitrarily determined, and therefore should neither be interpreted as a reimbursement for expenses, nor an amount which is linked to a standard cost of living. In terms of coercive effects, “the recent emphasis on work requirements as eligibility conditions to major welfare programs may be viewed as an attempt to socialize the poor along the lines of work ethic”[45] whereas other mechanics are more covert. This type of regulation can be classified as a perpetuation of a historical disadvantage, or stereotype, especially since “work requirements are deeply rooted in the English poor law antecedents… and in [American] common law concepts of vagrancy.”[46]

A Framework for Forwarding Progress

“Legal empowerment relates to a rule of law that is just and enforceable allowing nations to reduce poverty quickly and more effectively.”[47] “The empowerment process involves states delivering on their duty to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, and the poor realizing more and more of their rights, and reaping the opportunities that flow from them, through their own efforts as well as through those of their supporters, wider networks, and governments.”[48]

Using a top-down approach, “efforts to promote rule of law are often characterized by a surprising amount of uncertainty about how exactly those will lead to economic development and democratization.”[49] A more effective, bottom-up approach to empowerment focuses on “rights-based development at local levels that can influence outdated laws and institutions.”[50] This can be achieved through use of legal services to increase disadvantaged populations’ control over their lives. The four necessary characteristics for implementation include: (1) lawyers viewing the poor as partners; (2) the poor being encouraged to directly influence public policy and priorities; (3) an emphasis on non-judicial strategies; and (4) use of the law integrated into a broader package of development-related activities.[51]

The way to reduce poverty quickly and more effectively would be to use law in partnership with historically disadvantaged groups who constitute a poverty risk, to influence government policy towards a universal, minimum-income right which can be easily enforced. “Universal measures, like for example universal child benefits, have an immediate impact on poverty – both among those who depend on earnings and those on replacement benefits – without adversely affecting work incentives… and if there is one thing empirical evidence before us today shows, universal, comprehensive social protection systems consistently perform better in preventing poverty, including in-work poverty, than strongly targeted ones.”[52]

A Case for Human Rights Discrimination

“Constitutional and human rights are best safeguarded when we can combine two or more fundamental legal principles such as non-discrimination, protection of property, protection of earned rights, legal expectancy, prohibition against retroactive legislation, and the principle of proportionality.”[53]

Government-provided public assistance payments are often likened to a form of property in need of protection; they are also sometimes conflated with disability or unemployment insurance/benefits. The substandard provision of benefits to Canadians is also associated with a disproportionate impact on its citizens in terms of their sex, gender, race, social condition, and disability – all of which are enumerated prohibited grounds of discrimination in Canadian legislation. International human rights declarations have earned Canadians the right to self-determination. And the current legislative framework in Canada cannot be said to be proportional.

“Issues of access to justice cannot be separated from the system of social relationships developed in a specific legal system. The legal claimant cannot be detached from the social history of a country.”[54] “The protection of the poor can be conceived as the defence of the isolated litigant, or can be targeted towards a group of people whose characteristics vary, in different systems, for historical reasons… This implies that, through a single case, the problems of an underprivileged group can be more broadly dealt with for the benefit of a group though a mobilization of forces able to modify the economic and social plight of the parties.”[55]

The substandard efforts on behalf of Canadian governments by failing to provide a livable income, whether by means of making work available or direct-payment to those in need, constitutes a breach in respect to the government’s obligation to provide services to a group of communities (the majority of whom constitute protected grounds) who have experienced a historical disadvantage which is perpetuated by the government’s failure to provide a means of subsistence while under obligation to treat these protected groups without discrimination.

The legal consciousness of the welfare poor is described with a focus on power and domination, keying on the ideas of enclosure and dependency. “Being on welfare means having a significant part of one’s life organized by a regime of legal rules invoked by officials to claim jurisdiction over choices and decisions which those not on welfare would regard as personal and private.”[56] The welfare poor attempt to resist this power imbalance through their assertion and demand for recognition of their personal identities and human needs. From the perspective of an individual living on welfare, legal rules are described by their pervasiveness and obtrusiveness – causing one to feel caught in a web-like enclosure. The law of welfare poor is not a shared normative commitment, as welfare recipients are neither included nor invited to participate in its interpretation.[57]

The poor are regulated to work, are likely to receive income which perpetuates their poverty, and are more likely to experience discrimination and distortion of their lives within substandard conditions – all while being excluded by the government from a discussion regarding their needs, thus far.

Section 15, Charter claims for age-discrimination have succeeded in cases for mandatory retirement based on a denial of benefits to a class of workers “solely by virtue of age” and the perpetuation of a stereotype that the elderly could not be retrained for the labour market.[58] However, they have failed in cases for welfare provision such as in Gosselin[59]. Section 15 analyses offer overly formulaic and formal approaches allowing courts to dispatch claims concerning socio-economic benefit distribution questions. The recourse for distribution will be more easily accomplished under the Canadian Human Rights codes.[60]

Under Ontario’s Human Rights Code[61], every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination. The O’Malley[62] test for prima facie discrimination would require groups of individuals, who may be classified under the protected grounds of discrimination, to demonstrate an adverse treatment by the government of these individuals while experiencing poverty, as well as the adverse effects of existing poverty reduction legislation (including a lack of access to opportunities) described in this paper. Lastly, claimants would need to demonstrate that their relevant protected characteristic was a factor in the government’s adverse treatment (but do not have to prove intent on behalf of the government), or a factor in those adverse impacts associated with poverty.

In determining whether welfare constitutes a service customarily available to the public (which engages human rights protections), we are offered a three-step approach from UBC v Berg[63], which asks: (1) Whether the action/decision in question amounts to an “accommodation, service or facility”?; (2) Who constitutes that service’s “public”?; and (3) Whether the service is customarily available to that public?

In 2016 it was determined in First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada v Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)[64] that government funding will constitute a service that attracts human rights protections. The nature of public-assistance programs is that they are openly available to all citizens of their jurisdiction. The “who” of the public are determined by the program’s eligibility criteria, which will be deemed acceptable if non-discriminatory.[65] “The ‘non-need’ eligibility requirements… may be viewed as defining the ‘category’ of needy people who will be eligible for assistance under the [social aid] program.”[66] In the Canadian welfare context, the eligibility criteria for the provision of benefits constitute prima facie discrimination (especially for low-income workers, students, adults living with parents, etc.). The duty to accommodate is also engaged in order to achieve success in overcoming historical disadvantages associated with poverty.

“The primary tool for determining need of welfare applicants and recipients is the ‘means-test’ by which the welfare administrators determine the available income and resources of the applicant or recipient to compare against the standard of need.”[67] Mechanics involve “forced disclosure by applicants of personal financial matters, verification with third-parties, and continual checking and supervision.”[68]

These government-imposed means, to an end consisting of an inequitable and insufficient benefit, pose issues regarding personal privacy and individual liberty. The ‘means-test’ is often performed on an ad-hoc, case-by-case determination of need of every applicant or recipient, and is one manner of identifying the class of eligible recipients to which the individual belongs. However another method is preferred, the presumptive-basis of welfare provision – using an external, objective factor.[69] The act of subjecting the helpless poor to extensive regulation, while claiming to promote individual responsibility and self-reliance, is deplorable.

Poverty should not be an acceptable bona fide requirement to financial assistance. A public financial assistance scheme should be non-discriminatory. By removing targeting criteria and creating a universal individual entitlement to a minimum income, the distribution process will essentially be streamlined to reduce courts’ fears of acting as legislators.


If the government is not willing to directly provide its citizens with the necessary goods and services to fulfil their most basic needs, and instead rely on the private sector, then an unconditional/universal right to a minimum income is necessary to achieve those goals as well as allow individuals to attain self-control and responsibility. By failing to do so, and choosing to employ a regulatory system to control those most in-need – the Canadian government’s actions are perpetuating historical disadvantages by acting on the presumption that the poor cannot be trusted to act autonomously with their money, and that Canadians are undeserving of a minimum standard of living.



[1] Michael F Forster, “Poverty in the OECD Area: Patterns and Longer-term Trends”, Social Security, Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rich and Poorer Countries, (Portland: Intersentia, 2010) at 35.

[2] Arthur L Berney, et al., Legal Problems of the Poor: Cases and Materials, (Toronto: Little Brown & Co, 1975), at 590.

[3] Berney, supra note 2 at 592.

[4] Ibid at 590.

[5] Forster, supra note 1 at 55-56.

[6] Ibid at 53-55.

[7] Berney, supra note 2 at 592.

[8] Berney, supra note 2 at 592.

[9] Dan Banik, ed, Rights and Legal Empowerment in Eradicating Poverty (Burlington: Ashgate, 2010), at 17.

[10] Forster, supra note 1 at 36.

[11] Ive Marx, “Minimum Income Protection in Post-Industrial Economies: On Getting the Balance Right between Incrementalism and Innovation – The Case of In-Work Poverty”, Peter A Kemp, ed, Social Protection for a Post-Industrial World (Portland: Intersentia, 2010) at 31.

[12] Forster, supra note 1 at 43.

[13] Ena Chadha & Laura Schatz, “Human Dignity and Economic Integrity for Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary on the Supreme Court’s Decisions in Granovsky and Martin” (2004) 19 JL & Soc Pol’y 94, at 111.

[14] Ibid at 96.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Granovsky v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 2000 SCC 28.

[17] Chadha, supra note 13 at 109.


[18] Ibid at 97.

[19] Ibid at 109.

[20] Lucy Williams Asbjorn Kjonstad & Peter Robson, eds, Law and Poverty: The Legal System and Poverty Reduction, (New York: Zed Books, 2003), at 164.

[21] Chadha, supra note 13 at 109.

[22] Ibid at 112.

[23] Eldridge v BC (AG), [1977] 3 SCR 624.

[24] Chadha, supra note 13 at 99.

[25] Ibid at 110.

[26] Banik, supra note 9 at 17.

[27] Neil Gilbert, “A Mother’s Work: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Welfare State”, Social Protection for a Post-Industrial World (Portland: Intersentia, 2010) at 59.

[28] Ibid at 60.

[29] Marx, supra note 11 at 46.

[30] Ibid at 43.

[31] Forster, supra note 1 at 38-39.

[32] Ibid at 40-41.

[33] Forster, supra note 1 at 42.

[34] Bea Cantillion Herwig Verschueren & Paula Ploscar, eds, Social Inclusion and Social Protection in the EU: Interactions Between Law and Policy, (Cambridge: Intersetia, 2012), at 190.

[35] Cantillion, supra note 34 at 196.

[36] Forster, supra note 1 at 45.

[37] Ibid at 52.

[38] Marx, supra note 11 at 36.

[39] Marx, supra note 11 at 39.

[40] Cantillion, supra note 34 at 191.

[41] Williams, supra note 20 at 173.

[42] Government of Canada, “Chapter 1: What is Welfare?” (16 August 2013), Employment and Social Development Canada, online: <>.

[43] Employment Insurance Act, SC 1996, c 23.

[44] Ontario Works Act, SO 1997, c 25.

[45] Berney, supra note 2 at 592.

[46] Ibid at 718.

[47] Banik, supra note 9 at 11.

[48] Ibid at 13.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid at 14.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Marx, supra note 11 at 50.

[53] Williams, supra note 20 at 172.

[54] Ibid at 139.

[55] Ibid at 147.

[56] Austin Sarat, “… The Law is All Over: Power, Resistance and the Legal Consciousness of the Welfare Poor” (1990) 2:2 Yale JL & Humanities 344.

[57] Ibid at 345.

[58] Mel Cousins, “Age Discrimination and Income Security Benefits” (2009) 22 JL & Soc Pol’y 69, at 72-73.

[59] Gosselin v AG, 2002 SCC 84.

[60] Chadha, supra note 13 at 134

[61] Human Rights Code, RSO 1990, c H 19.

[62] Ontario (Human Rights Commissioner) v Simpsons-Sears[1985] 2 SCR 536 [O’Malley]

[63] University of British Colombia v Berg, [1993] 2 SCR 353.

[64] First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada v Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2016 CHRT 2.

[65] Chadha, supra note 13 at 132.

[66] Berney, supra note 2 at 759.

[67] Ibid at 760.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid.


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