The Limits of Affluence: Welfare in Ontario, 1920-1970

By James Struthers

© 1994

With its roots in nineteenth-century poor relief, welfare is Canada’s oldest and most controversial social program. No other policy is so closely linked to debates on the causes of poverty, the meaning of work, the difference between entitlement and charity, and the definition of basic human needs. The first history of welfare in Canada’s richest province offers a new perspective on our contemporary response to poverty.

Struthers examines the evolution of provincial and local programs for single mothers, the aged, and the unemployed between 1920 and 1970, when the modern welfare state first took shape. He analyses the roles of social workers; women’s groups; labour and the left; federal, provincial, and local welfare bureaucrats; and the poor themselves. The Story evolves through depression, war, and unprecedented postwar affluence. A wealth of detail supports this account of all the forces that have shaped welfare policy; bureaucratic imperatives, political professionals, the unemployed, labour unions, federal-provincial relations, provincial-municipal relations, and the spirit of the times.
 Based on extensive primary research, this definitive work covers much new ground, providing an indispensable reference on Ontario’s social welfare history
(The Ontario Historical Studies Series)

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 401 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.0in x 9.2in
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SKU# SP005462

  • PUBLISHED JAN 1995

    From: $25.46

    Regular Price: $33.95

    ISBN 9780802075826
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1994

    From: $26.21

    Regular Price: $34.95

Quick Overview

The first history of welfare in Canada’s richest province offers a new perspective on our contemporary response to poverty. Struthers examines the evolution of provincial and local programs for single mothers, the aged, and the unemployed between 1920 and 1970, when the modern welfare state first took shape.

The Limits of Affluence: Welfare in Ontario, 1920-1970

By James Struthers

© 1994

With its roots in nineteenth-century poor relief, welfare is Canada’s oldest and most controversial social program. No other policy is so closely linked to debates on the causes of poverty, the meaning of work, the difference between entitlement and charity, and the definition of basic human needs. The first history of welfare in Canada’s richest province offers a new perspective on our contemporary response to poverty.

Struthers examines the evolution of provincial and local programs for single mothers, the aged, and the unemployed between 1920 and 1970, when the modern welfare state first took shape. He analyses the roles of social workers; women’s groups; labour and the left; federal, provincial, and local welfare bureaucrats; and the poor themselves. The Story evolves through depression, war, and unprecedented postwar affluence. A wealth of detail supports this account of all the forces that have shaped welfare policy; bureaucratic imperatives, political professionals, the unemployed, labour unions, federal-provincial relations, provincial-municipal relations, and the spirit of the times.
 Based on extensive primary research, this definitive work covers much new ground, providing an indispensable reference on Ontario’s social welfare history
(The Ontario Historical Studies Series)

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 401 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.0in x 9.2in
  • Reviews

    ‘James Struthers acknowledges the complexity of the subject and does not oversimplify issues. This often requires a skillful balancing act as bureaucratic imperatives, political pressures, “the spirit of the times,” private social agencies, social work professionals, the unemployed, labour unions, federal-provincial and provincial-municipal relations all interact in the shaping of welfare policy. He is scrupulous in giving due weight to all these variables.”
    James M. Pitsula

    ‘…this is a superb historical account of the development of social welfare in twentieth-century Ontario. It is written with remarkable precision and clarity and, throughout, his interpretations are persuasive and convincing. It is without any doubt the best account yet produced on the history of social welfare in Canada.’


    Allan Irving (Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto)
  • Author Information

    JAMES STRUTHERS is a professor in the Canadian Studies Department and the Department of History at Trent University.