SOCIAL LEGISLATION IN CANADA
IN Canada, as in the United States, there was little social legislation before 1930. The social backgrounds of the two countries were essentially similar; both were dominated by the existence of unexploited western territories and the consequent emphasis upon mobility and expansion, and it was this factor that held back the demand for social security. There were, however, one or two differences of background which must be mentioned. The first of these is the existence of the French-Canadians in Quebec, amounting to approximately a third of the total population at the time of confederation. This has meant that social attitudes in the Province of Quebec have been dominated by the ideas of the Roman Catholic Church and many activities which are elsewhere the responsibility of the state are there left to private organization. It may be noted in passing that the French proportion of the total population has remained remarkably stable; a lower rate of immigration has been balanced by a higher birth-rate, and in 1941 the proportion was 30 per cent.
The second important difference is that the Canadian colonies, unlike the American ones, did not all take over from Britain the principles of the Elizabethan poor law. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick did so, but Upper and Lower Canada did not. That Lower Canada, which was predominantly French, should not have adopted these principles is only to be expected, but the case of Upper Canada is less straightforward. Until 1791 this area was included in the French-speaking colony of Quebec, but during and after the American Revolution large numbers of loyalists migrated thereto, and by the Constitutional Act of 1791 the colony of Upper Canada was split off and given representative institutions and British civil law. During the next forty-nine years the colony could have adopted the principle of local responsibility for the care of the poor,