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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

SOCW 2121: Social Welfare in Canada

This course provides an overview of the income security system in Canada - its development, programs, and major policy debates. It is intended for those seeking an understanding of the many income security programs and policies, how they reflect ideologies, and how effectively they work (or fail to work) in practice. This course provides an overview of social welfare in Canada - its historical foundations, developmental and program delivery system. The course will consider how social policy responds to populations in need.

Learning outcomes

  • Define social welfare and describe its relationship to social service programs and to individual well-being.
  • Understand how different political ideologies frame social welfare in Canada.
  • Understand the process of social policy development from problem identification to policy implementation.
  • Describe historical socio-political factors that have influenced the major phases of social welfare provision in Canada.
  • Describe the range and organization of social service agencies that are responsible for providing social welfare programs to Canadians.
  • Explain the various roles that professional and non professional helpers provide in the delivery of social welfare and their influence in promoting change in policy development.
  • Recognize the incidence and impact of poverty on Canadians and the associated issues for people living in poverty.
  • Critically think about the feminization of poverty and how social welfare policy can reinforce issues of dominance and inequality.
  • Understand the umbrella concept of child welfare in social welfare policy; as well as the implications of child maltreatment and the social welfare response.
  • Examine the changing social knowledge about older Canadians; the current population indicators and the social policy framework.
  • Understand the historical aboriginal social welfare policies and their effect on aboriginal people's lives today.
  • Consider how immigration policies and social welfare policies support or exclude members of racialized groups in their integration, or social inclusion, in Canada.
  • Review Canadian attitudes and beliefs towards people with physical and mental disabilities and the perspectives that inform national policies.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Introduction to Social Welfare Policy
  • Module 2: History of Social Welfare in Canada
  • Module 3: Canadian Labour Market Policies
  • Module 4: Poverty and Well-Being
  • Module 5: The Welfare and Well-Being of Women and Families
  • Module 6: The Welfare and Well-Being of Canadian Children and Youth
  • Module 7: Social Welfare and Mental Well-Being in Canada
  • Module 8: The Welfare and Well-Being of Indigenous Peoples
  • Module 9: The Welfare of Immigrants and Racialized Minorities
  • Module 10: Social Welfare and Older People in Canada
  • Module 11: Social Welfare and Well-Being of People with Disabilities (Diverse Abilities)
  • Module 12: Global Well-Being and Social Justice

Required text and materials

The following material is required for this course:

  1. Hick, S. & J. Stokes. (2021). Social Welfare in Canada: Inclusion, Equity, and Social Justice (4th Ed.). Thompson Educational Publishing.
    Type: Textbook. Print ISBN: 978-1550772814. Digital ISBN 978-1-55077-282-1.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the Mandatory Final Project.

Note: For this course to apply to the completion of the Human Service Diploma, students must obtain a grade of 60%, or higher, overall in the course.

Assignment 1: Media and Social Welfare  20%
Assignment 2: Virtual Presentation 20%
Assignment 3: Major Essay 30%
Mandatory Final Exam 30%
TOTAL 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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