Publications, opinions, and speeches
The Dangers of Block Funding
Published on 26/02/1995
The Dangers of Block Funding rings the alarm bell on rumours that the federal government will replace the Canada Assistance Plan’s cost-shared transfers to the provinces for welfare and social services with a ‘mega-block fund’ that would combine federal financial support to the provinces for health, postsecondary education, welfare and social services. In return for a sizeable cut in the amount of social transfers from Ottawa – over and above the billions that have been removed in the past several years as a result of changes initiated by the Mulroney government – the provinces would have the freedom to spend the money as they see fit. While there are advantages in overcoming the rigidities in the Canada Assistance Plan, there are serious dangers with this approach: Fewer federal dollars will mean a reduced federal presence in human services – and a diminished ability to ensure and enforce any meaningful national conditions or standards. The provinces would no longer have to match federal funds (as they did under the Canada Assistance Plan) and could spend the money however they want, including areas outside of health and social policy. No longer would provinces have to furnish an income safety net to all people in need: They could – and some likely would – attach work-for-welfare conditions on certain groups or deny them assistance altogether.
ISBN – 1-895796-29-6