This course examines the historical development of the welfare state in Canada in comparison with other western nations. It focuses on the major social security programs and their recent restructuring in response to demographic, economic and political changes at the national and international levels.
Source: http://www.queensu.ca/sps/degrees/pa/mpa/electives.html, accessed 4 January 2014.
Detail from the Banting 2010-12 Syllabus
The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to social policy in Canada, and to evaluate the ways in which social programs have been restructured in the contemporary period. During the early and middle decades of the twentieth century, Canada and other western nations developed a complex set of social programs designed to protect individuals and families from the major risks inherent in contemporary societies. In recent decades, however, major changes in the economic, social and political context have placed new pressures on social programs, and successive governments have tried to restructure them, often through a long series of incremental changes. This course analyzes the politics of the restructuring of the welfare state in recent decades. We will ask the following questions: How have the politics of social policy changed in recent decades? Which programs have been restructured significantly, and why? Which programs have proven resistant to change, and why? How has the welfare state responded to new social risks that have emerged in recent decades? Has restructuring produced a set of social policies better designed for contemporary economic and social realities? Or has restructuring weakened the welfare state? The course is divided into three parts: Part A examines the historical development of the welfare state in Canada, and introduces a number of theoretical approaches to the welfare state. Part B analyzes the forces of change in social policy, examining the economic, social and political trends that put growing pressure on the traditional structure of social programs in Canada. Part C focuses on the restructuring of specific social programs, and the factors that shaped the outcomes. In this Part, attention will primarily be on Canadian experience.