Academic journal article Canadian Review of Social Policy

Editorial

Academic journal article Canadian Review of Social Policy

Editorial

Article excerpt

The articles in this issue address the ways in which austerity, cost containment and forms of surveillance undermine the security and life chances of vulnerable populations. The government commitment to austerity has deeply penetrated the areas of child welfare, housing, home support services and education such that, children, racialized youth, abused women, seniors and Indigenous populations face dire barriers in their everyday lives.

Our first article sets the stage by examining how government priorities over time have reduced revenue streams and, as a result, funding for important social programs. Thus, we begin the analysis of austerity by turning to the ways in which our revenue crisis has been structured over time. Given the rise of neoliberal policies, persistent deficits and an unstable global economy the authors turn to an examination of the province's revenue sources. In Equity in Times of Austerity: Ontario's Revenue Crisis in Historical Perspective, the authors look at the structural changes made to the province's revenue sources and government activity in addressing fiscal imbalances. The study focuses on income, sales, and corporate income tax, which comprise the majority of revenue generated through taxation. They demonstrate how massive reductions in tax rates beginning with the "common sense revolution" and the rise of consumption taxes have reduced public revenue, consumer confidence, and funding for programs that remain the key pathways to health equity: social assistance, labour market policy, and housing. Cutbacks to government programs undermine economic activity and corporate investment, as corporations sit on record amounts of capital. As the authors argue, countries that commit to funding health and social programs face much better population health outcomes. As this article and the two following pieces argue, housing disparities are on the rise across the country yet have differential impact on those facing structural and colonial forms of violence.

In Between the Abuser and the Street: An Intersectional Analysis of Housing Challenges for Abused Women, the author demonstrates how an absent housing policy keeps women either in violent homes, or on violent streets. The limited housing possibilities for abused women (shelters, second and third stage housing, social housing and the private market) in rural and urban centers, and on reserves, reveal the direct connections between housing and violence. This article draws from a SSHRC-funded research project involving qualitative interviews, in seven languages across Ontario, with 64 women receiving welfare who describe the connections between intimate partner abuse and the limited housing options for abused women. For women marginalized by race and colonialism the options are even fewer. Aboriginal women point to the lack of services and intolerable living conditions on reserve. Other studies show how Africanand South Asian-Canadian applicants experience the highest levels of rental discrimination. As the author maintains, these connections are alarming given Canada has become the highest private sector market-based housing system of any western nation, with the lowest funded public housing system, except for the United States.

Another study on housing looks at the administrative data of housing services of seven Alberta cities, to understand the protective factors of being precariously housed. This article is the first to analyze the situation of Indigenous homeless people in Alberta, across multiple urban settings of varying sizes. In Risk and Protective Factors of Precarious Housing among Indigenous People Living in Urban Centres in Alberta, Canada, the authors find that living in a larger city, having more income and education, and being married were all protective factors from being precariously housed, while addiction was found to be a risk factor. Risk and protective factors are extremely vital given the disproportionate number of Indigenous peoples who are homeless in urban spaces, their continued urban migration, the lower labour market attachment and the median income of this population. …

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