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]

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The Poor are Canada’s Constitutional Castaways

“Poverty has been characterized by our political leaders not as a serious and systematic problem, but an individualized phenomenon blamed on the poor themselves… who are depicted as responsible for their own misfortunes. Charter litigation, in this context, is then revealed not as a means of bypassing democratically elected governments… but rather as a mechanism for calling the legislative and executive branches to account for their failure to respect the basic rights and interests of a group which has been totally marginalized within our current political system.” [1]


Gosselin v. Quebec[2] demonstrates how a condescending, stereotypical view towards poverty has permeated both society and government to the point where a real examination of any economic issue is not even considered.

The application of the Charter[3] should have no barriers to economic issues experienced by individual persons. By limiting the application of section 7 to negative liberties and effectively preventing courts from imposing positive obligations onto the government, citizens are barred from gaining back any advantages lost to the capitalist market, leaving society confined to the framers’ inferred economic ideology.

If continued, this ideology will entrench the existence of poverty to ensure that it remains an institutional representation of individual failure.

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