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Lecture 41 Social Policy cont..docx

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McMaster University
Sandra Colavecchia

Sociology 2U06: Family Sociology March 22 2012 Lecture 41: Social Policy cont. Topic: - Chapter 33 of Fox – Shelley Phipps – lessons from Europe for Canada Chapter 33 - Examines Germany, France, Finland, Sweden o Compares their social policies to ours - Not expected to memorize the specific details of countries and their specific policies o More about how Canada looks in comparison to other countries o Social policies seem better in Euro than in Canada - Main argument is that the major economic and social changes have led to greater economic instability in Canada o Higher rates of child poverty and single parent poverty in Canada as compared to other industrialized countries  For single parent families poverty rates much higher when the single parent is not working and reliant on gov’t support  Women’s labour force participation decreases poverty when both parents are in the labour force and increases poverty when only one parent is in the labour force - Similar social and economic trends in euro and Canada o High divorce rates  Similar to Finland, Germany and Sweden o Increase in single-parent families  Similar rates in some euro countries o Increases in women’s labour force participation  Similar rates in some euro countries o Declining fertility o Gender gap in earnings  Greatest in Canada as compared to euros o High rates of youth unemployment o Income inequality  Worse in Canada o All of these have implications for economic security - Looks at different policies o Cash transfers  Baby bonus replaced by Child tax benefit, family supplement for Canadians  Child tax benefit o Based on income o Lower income families receive it o Based on previous years income, so if income drops then it will take some time for that to be processed  Family supplement o Only for Canadian families with a very low income o Maternity and parental leaves and benefits  Eligibility criteria requires that the parent has accumulated a certain number of hours of paid work  Approx. 600 hours in last year  Not for all women about to have babies anymore  Disadvantages part-time workers, women who didn’t return to work after their first child  Basic benefit is 55% of average insured earnings but caps out at about 400$ a week – is taxable  Two tiered system  Some private sector companies offer top-ups  Most generous top-ups are for some gov’t employees o 90% of their salary  See a lot of variation in top-ups o Most people don’t get top-ups  Amount
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