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What sort of Socials Programs Did Canada Develop after World War II?

Information on the history of Canada's: -Health Care -Unemployment Insurance -Canada Pension Plan
by

Ashley Ahmelich

on 5 May 2012

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Transcript of What sort of Socials Programs Did Canada Develop after World War II?

Health Care Unemployment Insurace Canada Pension Plan What sort of Social
Programs did Canada develop
after World War II? Makarenko, Jay. "Canada Pension Plan: Overview, History and Debates | Mapleleafweb.com." Mapleleafweb.com | Canada's Premier Political Education Website!. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2012. <http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/canada-pension-plan-overview-history-and-debates>.

Smith, D.A.. "Employment Insurance in Canada: History, Structure and Issues | Mapleleafweb.com." Mapleleafweb.com | Canada's Premier Political Education Website!. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2012. <http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/employment-insurance-canada-history-structure-and-issues>.

Dunlop, Marilyn. "The Canada Health Act: Provisions & Administration | Mapleleafweb.com." Mapleleafweb.com | Canada's Premier Political Education Website!. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2012. <http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/canada-health-act-provisions-amp-administration>. It Started with the creation of the Canada Health Act, introduced on April 1, 1984 by the Liberal Trudeau Government. Canada’s Healthcare System is federalism. Canada is a federation meaning that political power and authority is divided among and between levels of Government. The federal government spends tens of billions of dollars annual in support of provincial health care systems. The federal government uses this money to influence provincial policy-making in the area of health care. It provides money to the provinces if they implement programs and policies that are consistent with federal objectives. Instead of developing a national system that is centrally administered and uniform across the country, Canada has essentially developed several provincial health care systems which differ significantly in structure and operation. This means that instead of Canadian health care being a “single system”, it is more of a “patchwork” of provincial regimes. The government of Canada has exerted considerable influence through constitutional spending powers, and is permitted to spend money in the area of health care, either through fiscal transfers to the provinces of directly to individuals and groups. Two key aspects of Canada’s welfare state involve: a) encouraging citizens to save for their retirement income, and b) reducing poverty among seniors. It is a universal public retirement income plan. The CPP is a joint federal and provincial scheme (Quebec excepted) which is administered by the Government of Canada and covers all eligible Canadians, regardless of where they live. The Canada Pension Plan is one part of a multi-dimensional system that includes tax-funded benefits, low-income benefits, employment-based pensions, and private tax-assisted savings for retirement. The CPP is a contribution plan based on an individual’s employment. The CPP is not a direct subsidy for seniors, funded out of general government revenues. Instead, it is based on contributions made by employees, and their respective employers, over the course of an individual’s working life. As such, the CPP is directly tied to one’s employment and participation in the workforce. The CPP is a mandatory contribution plan. Employees and employers do not have an option to voluntarily participate in the CPP, but are instead required by law to contribute. This distinguishes the CPP from the public pension plans of other countries, such as Britain; there, individuals can opt out of contributing to a central plan in favour of other retirement income schemes. In Canada’s early history, most seniors depended on their personal savings or their families for retirement income. At that time, the retirement income system operated in a Canadian economy that was largely rural and based on trades, small businesses, and agriculture. As such, seniors would pass their small businesses or farms to their offspring; their offspring, in turn, would care for their parents in their retirement. While private workplace pensions became available in the late 1800s/early 1900s, they were far from widespread and tended to be concentrated in particular industries, such as the railroads. Federal policy in the area of retirement income stretches back over 100 years, with the introduction of the Canadian Government Annuities Act in 1908. The purpose of this legislation was to encourage Canadians to purchase government annuities as a means of saving for retirement. This program resembled the modern Canadian Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Individuals would purchase financial assets; these assets, in turn, would pay out regular benefits upon the individual’s retirement from the workforce. In 1927, the federal government introduced the first Old Age Pensions Act, establishing a national pension scheme — though the Act came about because of political opportunism. Since its introduction in 1965, the CPP has undergone a number of key reforms. Between 1966 and 1986, reforms included introducing a full annual cost of living indexation for benefits; ensuring availability of the same benefits for surviving spouses, common-law partners and dependants (children); eliminating earning tests for early retirement benefits; and dividing pension credits (known as credit splitting) between spouses in the event of a marriage dissolution. The Great Depression of the 1930s hit all sectors of the population hard. With the economic improvement following the Second World War, seniors faced the problem of inflation and declining real incomes, due to the fact that their Old Age Pensions were tied to minimum income levels rather than the cost of living. This period saw little in the way of reform, though the pension plan was expanded to include some disabilities, such as blindness. In the 1950s and 1960s, however, there was significant reform. In 1965, the federal government further reformed the public pension regime when it introduced the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The CPP did not replace Old Age Security, but was implemented as a complementary measure. The CPP differed significantly from the OAS in that the OAS was a direct benefit paid through general government revenues. The CPP, by contrast, was a compulsory social insurance plan, in which employees and employers contribute towards a wage-related retirement pension, and included long-term disability and survivors’ benefits. When it was first introduced, the CPP covered approximately 92 percent of the labour force and was designed to replace 25 percent of the average industrial wage. During this period, the Canadian Constitution was amended twice in the area of pensions. In 1951, the Constitution was changed to allow the federal government to operate old age pensions. It was amended again in 1964 to extend federal jurisdiction over supplementary benefits, such as survivors’ and disability benefits. It is important to note, however, that these amendments did not provide the federal government with exclusive authority in the area of pensions. Instead, they established pensions as a concurrent jurisdiction, with provincial paramountcy ―an approach where both levels of government legislated in the area of pensions, but provincial legislation is paramount insofar as no federal plan could affect the operation of any present or future provincial plan. Employment insurance in Canada is a legacy of the Great Depression, and remains a pillar of the nation’s modern social programs. Since its creation in 1940, the program has undergone many significant evolutions, both philosophically and structurally. Following the World War I, Canada was faced with the issues of integrating returning soldiers back into Canadian life while dealing with an economic recession. In response, the federal government introduced the 1918 Employment Officers Co-ordination Act, a federal-provincial cost-sharing program in which the federal government subsidized provincial employment offices. In 1935, the Conservative government passed the Employment and Social Insurance Act, which established a national unemployment scheme. In 1936, the Liberal government referred the Employment and Social Insurance Act to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ultimately struck down the legislation on those very same grounds. In August 1940, the federal government passed the Unemployment Insurance Act, instituting a national public system of unemployment insurance. The new scheme was financed through contributions by employees, employers, and the Government of Canada. Contributions were paid into, and benefits paid out of, an Unemployment Insurance Fund, with the federal government investing surpluses and covering any shortfalls. To be eligible for benefits, workers were required to show they were unemployed, available for suitable work, and had contributed to the program for the last 180 days. Workers could be completely disqualified from receiving benefits if they had participated in a work stoppage or strike, and disqualified for up to six weeks if they had been fired for misconduct, quit voluntarily without just cause, or refused suitable employment. Moreover, unemployment due to illness, injury, pregnancy, or retirement was not covered under the program. Since the 1971 Act was passed, unemployment insurance has undergone significant changes. Structurally, unemployment insurance has been reformed substantially. This is, in large part, a reaction to the financial costs of the program following the liberalization of eligibility requirements and the range of benefits provided to workers. These strains have been particularly pronounced in periods of economic crisis, during which demand on the system increases substantially. During the 1980s and early 1990s, unemployment insurance often incurred billions of dollars in annual financial shortfalls. As a result, changes to the structure of unemployment insurance were introduced by the federal government, some of which came almost immediately after the passage of the 1971 Act. This included significant clawbacks on benefits (such as wage replacement rates or the percentage of their previous income claimants could receive), as well as a tightening of eligibility requirements. Prior to 1990, the cost of unemployment insurance was shared by employees, employers, and the federal government (through general government revenues). In 1990, however, the federal government eliminated its own customary financial responsibilities, making the program completely self-financing. As such, the entire cost of unemployment insurance would be shared between employees and employers alone (though the federal government continues to be responsible for any annual surpluses and deficits). In 1996, the name of the program was also changed to Employment Insurance (EI). This was intended to reflect the program’s primary objective of promoting employment in the modern economy and labour force, and to move away from the image of supporting unemployment. Canada uses a mix of public and private organizations to deliver health care; in turn, these organizations bill the provincial health authorities, with few exceptions.Hospitals are largely non-profit organizations, historically often linked to religious or charitable organizations. In the late 1970s, however, the federal government began to withdraw from its central role. It announced that it would no longer keep its commitment to pay one-half of the public health costs, in addition to ending the practice of placing restrictions on how the provinces and territories operated their health insurance schemes. As a result, the provinces and territories gained greater autonomy in the delivery of health care services. They also, however, had to bear a larger share of public health care costs. During the 1980s, some provinces and territories began taking controversial measures to deal with rising health care costs; such measures included the introduction of user fees and extra-billing. This, in turn, raised federal concerns that the universality and accessibility of the public health care system was being encroached upon. In an attempt to curb this trend, the federal government passed the Canada Health Act in 1984. The Act prohibited the practices of user-fees and extra-billing, as well as set out general criteria regarding the operation of provincial/territorial health insurance plans. Section 3 of the Act declares that the objective of Canadian health care policy is “to protect, promote, and restore physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.” In other words, the Act takes the position that all Canadian should have reasonable access to health services, regardless of their financial status and ability to pay. The Canada Health Act is administered predominately by Health Canada, which is the federal ministry or department of health. Health Canada is responsible for developing national health policy, as well as ensuring the Act’s criterion and conditions are being complied with. The Minister of Health, who is the minister responsible for Health Canada and sits in the federal Cabinet, is the primary federal representative in the Act’s administration and federal dealings with provincial and territorial governments on health-related issues. The Minister of Health usually works closely with the Prime Minister and Cabinet in developing and implementing federal health strategies. A Prezi By:
Ashley Ahmelich
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