Public Policy

  • About Canada: Children & Youth

    By Bernard Schissel     March 2011

    Canada is a signatory on the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which guarantees the protection and care of children and youth. About Canada: Children and Youth examines each of the rights within the Canadian context – and finds Canada wanting. Schissel argues that although our expressed desire is to protect and care for our children, the reality is that young people, in Canada and around the world, often lack basic human rights. The lives of young people are steeped in abuse from the education and justice systems, exploitation by corporations, ill health and poverty. And while the hearts of Canadians go out to youth in distant countries suffering under oppressive circumstances, those same hearts often have little sympathy for the suffering of youth, particularly disadvantaged youth, within Canada. This book explores our contradictory views and argues that we must do more to ensure that the rights of the child are upheld.

  • About Canada: Immigration

    By Nupur Gogia and Bonnie Slade     February 2011

    Many Canadians believe that immigrants steal jobs away from qualified Canadians, abuse the healthcare system and refuse to participate in Canadian culture. In About Canada: Immigration, Gogia and Slade challenge these myths with a thorough investigation of the realities of immigrating to Canada. Examining historical immigration policies, the authors note that these policies were always fundamentally racist, favouring whites, unless hard labourers were needed. Although current policies are no longer explicitly racist, they do continue to favour certain kinds of applicants. Many recent immigrants to Canada are highly trained and educated professionals, and yet few of them, contrary to the myth, find work in their area of expertise. Despite the fact that these experts could contribute significantly to Canadian society, deeply ingrained racism, suspicion and fear keep immigrants out of these jobs. On the other hand, Canada also requires construction workers, nannies and agricultural workers – but few immigrants who do this work qualify for citizenship. About Canada: Immigration argues that we need to move beyond the myths and build an immigration policy that meets the needs of Canadian society.

  • False Positive

    Private Profit in Canada’s Medical Laboratories

    By Ross Sutherland     February 2011

    When your doctor takes a blood sample for analysis, where does it go? Does it find its way to your local, publicly owned hospital? Does it take a longer journey to a private, for-profit lab in the next city? Chances are, you’ve never given it a lot of thought. In this daring exposé of the laboratory system, Sutherland investigates its historical and contemporary development in Canada and argues that the landscape has been heavily influenced by the private, for-profit companies – to the detriment of the public health care system.

  • About Canada: Animal Rights

    By John Sorenson     March 2010

    Adopting Mahatma Gandhi’s idea that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” this book considers the status of animals in Canada. Casting a critical gaze over how dominant ideologies, such as capitalism and patriarchy, have negatively impacted our relationships with the natural world, Sorenson examines the institutional exploitation of animals in agriculture, fashion and entertainment. Addressing the fur trade, seal hunt, Calgary Stampede, puppy mills, horse slaughter and Canada’s virtually unregulated vivisection industry, the book analyzes discourses used by animal-exploitation industries to defend their practices and suggests that a society that claims to protect animals while maintaining antiquated laws is suffering from “moral schizophrenia.” This book advocates an abolitionist agenda, promotes veganism as a personal and political commitment, shows the economic, environmental and health costs of animal exploitation and presents animal rights as a social justice issue.

  • Ontario Works–Works for Whom?

    An Investigation of Workfare in Ontario

    By Julie Vaillancourt     February 2010

    This book is an institutional ethnographic investigation of the Ontario Works program and the problems that it creates in the lives of people on social assistance. Ontario Works is a work-for-welfare program that was implemented in Ontario in 1996 as part of the neoliberal restructuring of the welfare state. The book shows that Ontario Works has not, in reality, been used to help people on assistance and rather has been used as another means of facilitating an attack on them, while providing subsidized and cheap labour for companies and social agencies.

  • Punched Drunk

    Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO 1927–1975

    By Gary Genosko and Scott Thompson     October 2009

    In this critical study of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Scott Thompson and Gary Genosko expose the stakes and consequences of the enormous bureaucracy behind the administrative surveillance of alcohol consumption in Ontario. Since its inception in 1927, the LCBO subjected alcohol consumption to its disciplinary gaze and generated knowledge about the drinking population. This book details how the LCBO tracked all alcohol consumption and capitalized on technological advances in order to generate categories and profiles of individuals so they could “control” drinking in the province. While this is a historical project, it also investigates how categorical treatment of populations like First Nations helped to develop and foster stereo-types around addiction that persist to this day.

  • About Canada: Childcare

    By Martha Friendly and Susan Prentice     May 2009

    In Canada, early childhood education and care includes childcare programs, kindergartens and nursery schools. When these programs are well-designed, they support children’s development and accommodate parents who work or study. About Canada: Childcare answers questions about early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) in Canada. Why doesn’t Canada have an ECEC system, even though other countries do? Why is ECEC so important? What is missing in Canada’s ECEC landscape and why? Can ECEC programs be designed as wonderful environments for young children or are they merely necessary but not particularly desirable places to keep children safe while mothers are at work? Is ECEC primarily a public good, a private family responsibility or an opportunity for profit-making? Early childhood education and childcare is a political issue, the authors argue, and Canada needs an integrated system of services. The absence of a universal publicly funded ECEC system is detrimental to families, women and children and Canada’s future.

  • Terminal Damage

    The Politics of VLTs in Atlantic Canada

    By Peter McKenna     April 2008

    “This book is assuredly not an anti-gambling screed. What I’m against, and make no doubt about it, is the scourge of the video lottery terminal (VLT), and the fact that not all gambling is created equal. There is a reason why those in the know refer to those electronic devices as ‘killer machines’ and the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.”–from the Introduction The Atlantic Lottery Corporation promotes its VLT product as a win-win for Atlantic Canada. “Even those who didn’t win a prize enjoyed a moment of fun with a chance to dream…” intones the corporation’s advertising. The truth is that financial stress, marriage break-up, physical and mental health issues, depression, alcohol dependency and suicide go hand-inhand with pathological gambling. In spite of this social scourge, governments turn a blind eye toward the social fallout from gambling. What they do have an eye for is the annual revenue figures derived from gambling. VLTs, by far the most addictive of all gambling activities, are also the biggest cash cow. This book examines why public policy action has been more symbolic than substantive and how VLTs have become increasingly politicized since the early 1990s. It is a clarion call to governments to take action.

  • Canadian Social Policy Renewal, 1994-2000

    By Ian Peach and William Warriner     January 2007

    This is a story of how a group of largely provincial civil servants and politicians came together in the face of neoliberal hegemony to advance the national child Benefit, national children’s Agenda and Social Union Framework Agreement. This study peers behind the ideology of media-speak to show how canadian federalism was made to work and where it failed to work. It peers deeply into the canadian political economy to understand the role of these social programs in the context of globalization. Students of social policy will find it most informative as they contemplate the structures and processes needed for implementing social programs in a federalist system.

  • Liquid Gold

    Energy Privatization in British Columbia

    By John Calvert     January 2007

    Secure, affordable, reliable energy has been one of British columbia’s most important competitive advantages and a key contributor to the province’s prosperity. BC’s energy costs have been based on the actual cost of production. Under new government policy, future energy will not be generated by BC hydro, but will be purchased from private energy producers.