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Family Policy in Canada

June 30, 2010

Above: Morna McEachern, Social Work (center) successfully defended her dissertation, Is Knowledge Power?: A Textual, Historical and Practical Study of “Sex Ed” Policy and “Teen Pregnancy” in Canada and the United States, in May. Michael Prince served on her committee. Susan Kemp, Social Work, chaired the committee.

By Morna McEachern

The talk focused on the history of Employment Insurance (EI), in Canada and focusing on EI as a major social insurance program at intersection of labour market, income support, and families. The image of citizen as worker-parent-caregiver with EI benefits for maternity leave, sick leave and compassionate care leave was an informative difference from the US version of unemployment insurance. Dr. Prince concluded that EI holds an important role in labour force attachment, family formation, and poverty prevention that needs to be continually monitored and occasionally reformed.Dr. Michael Prince, the Landsdowne Professor of Social Policy Studies at the University of Victoria, BC, gave this quarter’s final colloquium for the West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC). The talk, “Family Policy at Work: Employment Benefits, Women, and Labour Force Participation in Canada,” was co-sponsored by Canadian Studies and the WCPC.

Dr. Prince was in Seattle to give his talk and to participate, as the Canadian member of her dissertation supervisory committee, in the final examination of Canadian Studies doctoral candidate, Morna McEachern (Morna passed her exam!). Michael’s talk garnered interest from students and faculty from across the university as well as a staff member from US House of Representatives Jim McDermott’s office and two representatives of the Economic Opportunity Institute. This interest from both members of the university, the government and a policy think tank reflects Dr. Prince’s dedication both to scholarship and to participating in public policy commentary and creation.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.