Lone Mothers and Welfare Reform in Canada

Canada has been active in developing welfare reforms designed to help lone mothers get a job and attain self-sufficiency. Though the welfare-to-work programs have existed in one form or another in Canada since the 1970s, the 1990s signaled a remarkable transformation on how the country deals with income security. Canada has approached welfare reform through welfare-to-work and, as such, welfare beneficiaries receive benefits only if they are attending school, taking part in employability programs, or aggressively engaging in job-search activities.

However, due to recent social assistance reforms that made the welfare guidelines more stringent, single mothers under income assistance, along with their children, must even more endure beyond the poverty line. Overview of Discussion Since 1980, earnings and employment rates among Canadian single mothers have considerably improved. Nevertheless, since women have special labor-market experiences than men, the shift in entitlements has considerable effects for low-income women, which are further aggravated for single mothers because of the realities of the complex labor-market.

For instance, the foremost factor in the wage gap among men and women is the presence of children, instead of education, marriage or age. Moreover, although the income of the beneficiaries increased, yet throughout the years, market income alone was not adequate to permanently keep them out of poverty. While welfare-to-work employability programs encourage lone-mothers into employment, it falls short in acknowledging the realities of single working mothers, seeing that it is insensitive to the women’s lives. For lone parent families, full employment is generally suggested as the most dependable path outside poverty.

As a result, provincial and federal legislation in Canada has increasingly integrated guidelines to make sure that those who obtain public assistance must also be employed gainfully. Nevertheless, employment is deliberately weighed and considered in the light of expenses and benefits expected from a compensated work, and because of the labor market inequalities, finding work becomes more difficult for single mothers. Moreover, once in work, mothers go into a phase of severe stress in consequence of disparate crises. Following the commencement of welfare reforms, the number of Canadian single mothers living in poverty increased significantly.

The government has argued that the changes are beneficial as lone mothers are making a way into the labor market, producing more income, and consequently becoming better examples for their children. Conversely, many argue that these reforms have only created unwarranted challenges and hardship for single mothers. Nevertheless, compensated work, even when full-time, does not guarantee an income beyond the poverty line. Because of the reforms many lone mothers are worse off financially, and many others are no more financially affluent ensuing in the ever more identifiable occurrence of working poor.

In addition, recent policies of Welfare Reforms have not been successful for lone mothers in securing stable labor-force attachment. Employments in the low-skill, low-wage sector of the existing market economy do not present a living wage, nor do they involve the autonomy and flexibility required to successfully combine unpaid caring work and paid employment. Welfare-to-work policies, as they are presently devised, will most likely only further impoverish lone mothers and will necessitate an extensive facelift in order to exceed the affirmation of gender-sensitive social guidelines.

Conclusion Without a doubt, welfare reforms in Canada have contributed to the increased employment of lone mothers. Nevertheless, lone mothers and their children remain at high risk of hardship and poverty. Even though the Canadian government has generally done a better job helping families with child care and making work pay, it has not done enough to present social service and work opportunities for those who have been unable to obtain stable employment in the best labor market.