Articles Prepared on Social Justice Issues

March 22, 2012 - A Call to Action  -  CASW is asking all social workers to read their report on "Canada Social Transfer Project - Accountability Matters"  and to send a  prepared letter  to our provincial Premier with copies to the Prime Minister and federal Ministers.

January 16, 2012  - Poor, sick and uninsured Canadians least likely to afford prescription drugs - by Ashante Infantry, Staff Reporter, the Toronto star . Go to: 

January 4, 2012  - The growing chasm between rich and poor - Sharon Murphy, Chair of the NSASW Social Justice Committee

Two of the most important things I do with my life are volunteering at the Sunday supper at St. Andrew's United Church and the outreach program at St. Mary's Basilica. It is important because the people need the help provided so much. And it is meaningful because reaching out and loving concern to others and experiencing their deep appreciation brings a lot of meaning to my life. At the same time it causes me great concern that in a rich country like Canada people have to seek help at food banks, church suppers and lunch programs. Why? Why is there such inequality and a growing gap even chasm between the rich and poor in Canada? Why don't we have a progressive tax system where more people paid their fair share? Why have food banks, which were originally meant to be a stop- gap measure to temporarily help people in need, now become part of the fabric of our society?

We should all be alarmed by five recent studies on the growing gap between the rich and poor in Canada. The first in 2011 by campaign 2000 in “Revisiting Family Security in Insecure Times”, The conference Board of Canada 2011 report “Canada Inequality: is Canada Becoming More Unequal”, the 2011 report by The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development of “Divided We Stand”, the 2010 Hunger Count Report, and the January 2012 report by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives on the salaries of the top 100 Canadian CEO’s.

These reports do not paint a very positive picture. The Conference Board of Canada Report revealed when compared with other peer countries, Canada is ranked 12 th  out of 17 countries in terms of income inequality and currently has been given a “C” ranking.  Canada is the only peer country whose relative grade dropped between the mid-1990s and 2000, owing to its significant increase in income inequality. Ann Golden President and CEO of the conference Board of Canada stated Canada had the fourth largest increase in income inequality among its peers.

Among the key findings of the Campaign 2000  Report are: in 2009 the richest 20% of Canadians earned an average of $117,500 more than the poorest 20%, in 2009; the first school year following the recession of 2008,  639,000 children still live in poverty (9.5%); in 2009 household debt in Canada was at an all-time high of $1.5 trillion including mortgage costs; about one in three low income children has at least one parent  who is working full-time but is still in  poverty; in 2010, one in four workers in Canada was in her low wage job with an medium wage of $20 per hour, low-wage jobs were those paying less than $13.32 per hour.

The recent organization of Economic Cooperation and Development study confirms these findings and observes that inequality in Canada is rising relative to most OECD countries.

The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives report on the salaries of Canada’s elite 100 CEOs reveals that by 12 noon on January 3 rd  the first official working day of 2012 Canada's elite CEOs already have pocketed $44,366 that it takes “the average Joe” an entire year to earn. The elite 100 CEOs made an average of $8.38 million that is a 27% increase over the average 6.6 million they earned in 2009. At this rate the average of Canada’s top 100 elite CEOs makes 189 times more than Canadians earning an average wage. The authors of the study note that until recently Canada stood among the middle of the pack when it came to international comparisons of income inequality now that status is threatened by an even more troubling trend towards inequality.

The 2010 Hunger Report reveals that in March 2010, 867,948 separate individuals were assisted by food banks in Canada. This is an increase of 9.2% over March of all 2009 and follows on an 18% jump in usage between 2008 and 2009. Canadian food bank use has now reached its highest level in record passing the previous benchmark of 803,335 in 2004. Hunger continues to grow in our country despite the economic recovery from the 2008 recession.

As I read the studies and write this I am overwhelmed with the injustice work that needs to be done. But at the same time I am energized by the pain this injustice causes my fellow man. I will continue the fight and hope you'll join me.

December 8, 2011  - Breaking the Cycle of Poverty - Dominic Boyd, Member of the Social Justice Committee.

On October 4 th , 2011, the Chronicle Herald ran an article titled ‘Breaking the Cycle of Poverty”. It featured the efforts being made in Wolfville to reduce poverty, by educators and community leaders. They established a community fund that would contribute to projects aimed at reducing poverty in the medium-to-long term, with an emphasis on education as the means toward upward social mobility. One such was an after-school program for under-privileged children, focusing on music and fine-arts. This establishes a stronger connection between these children and the education system/process. It helps build self-esteem and confidence and hopefully will encourage the children to stay in school.

The Community Fund also enabled a Breakfast program and an after-school activities fund, so kids can take lessons such as dance or engage in a sport. It funded a program that helped parents to register their children in the Canada Learning Bond, paying for and helping with applications for birth certificates and social insurance numbers.

As social workers throughout  Nova Scotia , we can help create and support such Community Fund initiatives. The concept is that small amounts of money, strategically placed, can make a big difference over time. The NSASW Social Justice Committee encourages all social workers to get involved with such efforts in your communities. Write to us and tell us about your work in this area!


November 28, 2011  - "Occupy is about us, and our clients" - Dr. David Williams  (Click Here)

November 15, 2011  - The Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers condemns the heavy-handed police move against the peaceful Occupy Nova Scotia protestors.  (Click Here)  

November 4, 2011  - NSASW Press Release in support of the Occupy NS movement  (Click Here)

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