Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Costs & Benefits: 1939-1948 Costs & Benefits: 1930-1939 Costs & Benefits: 1939-1948 Costs & Benefits: 1948-1958

Family Allowances

Introduced in Parliament by William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberals on July 25, 1944, family allowances were to be paid by monthly cheque directly to mothers of children under 16 beginning in 1945. Unlike other national social security measures such as health and unemployment insurance, they were successfully introduced because they did not fall under provincial jurisdiction. During the Second World War, many families had suffered because their wages had not matched wartime inflation. By introducing family allowances, the government directly improved both the purchasing power of families with children and their standard of living. The family allowance program gave many Canadian families their first experience of the benefits of government policies designed to generate social progress.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010