Human Resources Development Canada
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The History of Canada's Public Pensions
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1867-1914 - Old Age and Poverty 1915-1927 - Our First Old Age Pension 1928-1951 - Demanding More 1952-1967 - Reducing Poverty 1968-1989 - Reaching More Canadians 1990-2000 - Pensions on Solid Ground 2000 on - A Secure Future


As with any social policy in a democratic setting, public pensions in Canada have been surrounded by controversy, and that is likely to remain the case. After all, aren't pensions (literally) a matter of life and death? The debates have explored the issues from various perspectives: the relationship between the provinces or regions of Canada and the federal government; partisan disputes in Parliament; the position of religious or philosophical creeds; or, at a more down-to-earth level, the competing forecasts of premiums and payouts. The following bibliography aims at helping the user to reach his or her own opinion through a more in-depth study of the topic. It includes official documents and general and specialized historical reference works, as well as sources reflecting the wide range of opinions on the subject, both within Canada and abroad.

Alberta Salary and Wage Rate Survey, 2nd ed.

Allen, Richard. The Social Passion: Religion and Social Reform in Canada. 1914-1928, Toronto: 1971.

Ascah, Louis. The Great Pension Debate: Federal and Provincial Pension Reform - Missing, Misleading and Shrinking:Proposals. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Ottawa: 1991.

Asimakopulos, A. The Nature of Public Pension Plans: Intergenerational Equity, Funding, and Saving. Hull: The Economic Council of Canada, 1980.

Axinn, June and Mark Stein. "Women and the Post-Industrial Welfare State." Social Work Vol. 32, No. 4 (1987): 282-86.

Azoulay, Dan Andre. Canadian Political Parties; Historical Readings. Toronto: Irwin Pub., 1999.

B.C. Directory for 1884-85, The.

Baetz, Reuben C. " The Significance of the Conference for Canada," in Proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Aging. Toronto: 1966.

Bank of Canada's Inflation Calculator

Banting, Keith, G., Institutional Conservatism: Federalism and Pension Reform. n.p.: n.d.

Bartlett, P. "Sexual distinctions in pensions" Osgoode Hall Law Journal Vol. 24, (1986).

Bélanger, Yves et al., L'ère des libéraux : le pouvoir fédéral de 1963 à 1984, Québec, Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1988.

Bell, John, Guardians of the North: the national superhero in comic-book art, Ottawa: National Archives of Canada. 1992.

Bellavance, Michel, Les politiques gouvernementales. Élaboration, gestion, évaluation, 2e éd., Montréal, Agence d'Arc, 1988.

Bennet, B., "The economics of wifing services: law and economics on the family." Journal of Law and Society Vol. 18 (1991) pp. 206-218.

Bergdolt-Munzer, S.L. "Homemakers and retirement income benefits: the other home security issue."Chicano Law ReviewVol. 8 (1985), pp. 61-80.

Bernard, André, Politiques et gestion des finances publiques, Québec et Canada, Montréal, Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1992.

Beveridge, William. Social Insurance and Allied Services. London: 1942.

Blackburn, Robin, Banking on Death. Or Investing in Life: The History and Future of Pensions. London: Verso Books, 2002.

Blair, R.S, Jack, McLeod. The Canadian Political Tradition; Basic Readings, Scarborough, Ont.: Nelson Canada, 1993.

Bothwell, Robert; Ian Drummond and John English. Canada 1900-1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987.

Brocas, Anne-Marie; Anne-Marie Cailloux, and Virginie Oget. Women and Social Security: Progress Towards Equality of Treatment. Geneva: International Labour Office. 1990.

Brown, D., "Sex discrimination in pension plans." Dalhousie Law Journal. Vol. 4, No.1, pp. 189-200.

Brown, R.C. and R. Cook. Canada 1896-1921. Toronto: 1976.

Bryden, Kenneth. Old Age Pensions and Policy Making in Canada 4th ed. Montreal & London: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1974.

Bryden, Penny. Planners and Politicians; Liberal politics and social policy, 1957-1968. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997.

Burbridge, John. Social Security in Canada: An Economic Appraisal. Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1987.

Canada Pension Plan Advisory Committee. More Effective Participation of Homemakers in the Canada Pension Plan, Ottawa: (1983), 41 pages with 7 page minority report.

Canada. Task Force on Retirement Income Policy, The Retirement Income System in Canada: Problems and Alternative Policies for Reform, Ottawa: Government of Canada. (1980), 2 vols.

Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities,Consensus for Pension Reform. (1982).

Canadian Association of Retired Persons 2001 (CARP)

Carman, Francis A. "Canadian Government Annuities, A Study of Their Relationship to Poverty in Old Age," New York, Academy of Political Science. Quarterly Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sept. 1915), pp 425-447.

Cassidy, Harry. "Social Services in a Federal System," Social Service Review, 14:12 (December 1940) , 4th.

Castell Hopkins, J. "Voluntary Contributions to War Funds," Canadian Annual Review. Toronto:1914.

Chenier, C.Y. "Pension reform to benefit women: how far have we come?" in Pask, E. Diane and Kathleen E. Mahoney, and Catherine A.Brown. eds. Women, The Law and the Economy. Toronto: Butterworths, 1985.

Clark, Hart. D. "Background Paper on Features of Interest and Concern to Women in the Canadian Income System." Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Ottawa: 1980.

Collins, Kevin. Women and Pensions. Canadian Council on Social Development. Ottawa: 1978.

Conklin, David W, Jalymnh Bennet and Thomas J. Courchene. eds. Pensions Today and Tomorrow: Background Studies. Toronto: Ontario Economic Council. 1984.

Couturier, Jacques-Paul, Wendy Johnston & Réjean Ouellette, Un passé composé : le Canada de 1850 à nos jours. Moncton, Éditions d'Acadie, 2000.

Croll, David. Retirement Without Tears. Report of the Special Senate Committee on Retirement Age Policies. 1979.

Cumming, Carman. Sketches from a Young Country; the Images of Grip Magazine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1997. [includes cartoons by J.W. Bengough published in Grip, 1873-1894.]

Daniel, Christine, & Bruno Palier (dir.), La protection sociale en Europe : le temps des réformes. Direction de la recherche, des études, de l'évaluation et des statistiques, Ministère de l'emploi et de la solidarité. Paris : La Documentation française, 2001.

Deaton, Richard Lee, The Political Economy of Pensions: Power, Politics and Social Change in Canada, Britain and the United States. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1989.

Debates of the Senate of the Dominion of Canada, 1906-07. Third Session, Tenth Parliament of Canada. (Ottawa, 1907).

Denton, Frank T., Melvin L. Kliman, Byron G. Spencer. Pensions and the Economic Security of the Elderly: Commentary Number Two. Montreal: C.D. Howe Institute, (1981).

Department of Finance Canada news release, "Federal Provincial Review of the Canada Pension Plan." (Ottawa, December 9, 1999.)

Department of Finance Canada news release, "Finance Minister's Statement on the Senior's Benefit." (Ottawa, July 28, 1998.)

Desbarats, Peter. The Hecklers; A History of Canadian Political Cartooning and a Cartoonists' History of Canada, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1979.

De Schweinitz, K. England's Road to Social Security. 4th edition. 1975.

Economic Council of Canada. One in Three: Pensions for Canadians to 2030. Ottawa: 1979.

Eichler, Margrit. Families in Canada Today: Recent Changes and Their Policy Consequences, 2nd edition. Toronto: Gage, 1988.

Finkel, Alvin. Business and Social Reform in the Thirties, 4th edition. Toronto: 1976.

Frank, David, "The bad old days: Canada's earliest public pensions are hardly worth celebrating...", The Ottawa Citizen, 24 September 2002.

French Society and Culture since the Old Regime, 5th edition.

Frith, Douglas. Pension Reform: Report on the Parliamentary Task Force. 1983.

Gee, E.M. and S.A. McDaniel. "Pension Politics and Challenges: Retirement Policy Implications" Canadian Public Policy Vol. 17.(1991).

Granatstein, J.L. The Ottawa Men: the Civil Service Mandarins, 1935-1957, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.

Graves, R.. The Long Weekend: A Social History of Britain, 5th edition, 1918-1939

Grayson, L.M. Wretched of Canada 1 vol. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (1971).

Grubel, Herbert (ed.), How to Use the Fiscal Surplus : What is the Optimal Size of Government? Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1998.

Guest, Dennis. The Emergence of Social Security in Canada, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1985.

Guillemette, Rev. André-Marie. "Future Activity on Behalf of the Aging." in Proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Aging. Toronto: 1966.

Haley, Donna J. Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions in Ontario. 1980.

Hall, Gordon and M., Mercer. Handbook of Canadian Pension and Benefit Plans, 11th ed, Toronto: CCH Canadian, 1996.

Harevan, Tamara. "An Ambiguous Alliance: Some Aspects of American Influences on Canadian Social Welfare, 4th. ed." Histoire sociale. 1969.

Health and Welfare Canada and Department of Finance, Better Pensions for Canadians (Green Paper), 1982.

Henripin, Jacques. Les pensions de retraite dans une société vieillissante. Montréal : Institut de recherche en politiques publiques, 1997. Also available on the Internet:

Income Security for Canadians (White Paper),(1970).

Ismael, J. S., ed. Canadian Social Welfare Policy: Federal and Provincial Dimensions. Kingston: 1985.

John, David C. Six Rules for Real Social Security Reform. Washington: Heritage Foundation, 2001:

Jones, Andrew and Len Rutman. In the Children's Aid, 4th ed. Toronto: 1981.

Kealey, G., ed. Canada Investigates Industrialism. Toronto: 1973.

Kealey, Linda. A Not Unreasonable Claim; Women and Reform in Canada, 1880s-1920s. Toronto: Women's Press, 1979.

Kindleberger, C., ed. The World in Depression, 1929-1939. 4th ed.1973.

Krasnick, Mark, ed., Fiscal Federalism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986. (The Collected research studies / Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada).

Lafferty, William R. Genesis of old age security legislation in Canada: 1906-1927, Ottawa: 1970, 80 leaves. Research essay (M.S.W.) - Carleton University. (1970).

Lamarsh, Judy. Memoirs of a Bird in a Gilded Cage. Toronto and Montreal: McLelland and Stewart, 1968.

Lazar, Harvey. The Retirement Income System in Canada: Problems and Alternative Policies for Reform (Lazar Report), by the Task Force on Retirement Income Policy. volume 1 and 2.

Leacy, F.H., ed., Historical Statistics of Canada, Government, Statistics Canada.

Levant, Victor. Capital and Labour: Partners? Toronto: 1977.

Lipton, Charles. The Trade Union Movement of Canada, 1827-1959, 4th ed. 1978.

Macnicol, John, The Politics of Retirement in Britain, 1878-1948. London, Cambridge University Press, 1998.

MacPherson, Ian. Each for All: A History of the Cooperative Movement in English Canada, 1900-1945, Toronto: 1979.

Marier, C.S. Recasting Bourgeois Europe, 5th ed.

Marquis, Thomas Guthrie. Builders of Canada from Cartier to Laurier, 1 v. Toronto: Winston, 1903.

Marshall, D. Aux origines sociales de l'État-providence, 4th ed.

Marwick, A.
  1. British Society Since 1945, 4th ed.
  2. British Social Policy Since 1945, 4th ed.
  3. British Social Reform and German Precedants, 4th ed.
  4. British Social Services, 4th ed.

McCallum, John. Canada's Choice; Crisis of Capital or Renewed Federalism, Toronto: C.D. Howe Institute, 1992.

McInnis, Edgar. Canada; A Political and Social History, New York: Rinehart, 1947.

MacInnis, Grace. J.S. Woodsworth, A Man to Remember. Toronto: 1953.

Morton, W.L. The Progressive Party in Canada, Toronto: 1967.

Moscovitch, Allan and Jim Albert, eds., The "Benevolent" State: The Growth of Welfare in Canada, Toronto: Garamond, 1987.

National Council of Welfare. Sixty Five and Older. Ottawa: 1984.

National Institutes of Health News Releases,"Life Expectancy in G-7 Industrialized Nations May Exceed Past Predictions, Study Suggests," Bethesda, MD, (June 14, 2002).

Newman, Peter C. The Distemper of Our Times. Toronto and Montreal: McClelland and Stewart, 1968.

Newton, Janice. The Feminist Challenge to the Canadian Left, 1900-1918. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995.

Nichols, Barbara & Peter Leonard. Gender, Aging and the State. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1994.

Northcott, Herbert C. Changing residence; the geographic mobility of elderly Canadians. Toronto: Butterworths, 1988.

Novak, Mark W. Aging and Society; A Canadian Perspective, 3rd ed., Scarborough, Ont., Canada: Nelson, 1993.

Olson, Laura Katz. The Graying of the world; who will care for the frail elderly? New York: Haworth Press, 1994.

Ontario Bureau of Industry, Annual Report, 1882-1900.

Orban, Edmond, La dynamique de la centralisation dans l'État fédéral: un processus irréversible, Montréal, Québec/Amérique, 1984.

Orloff, Ann Shola. The Politics of Pensions; A Comparative Analysis of Britain, Canada and the United States, 1880-1940, Madison: U. of Wisconsin Press, 1993.

Penner, N. The Canadian Left. Toronto: 1977.

Plongeron, Bernard, De la charité à l'action sociale : religion et société. Paris : Éd. du CTHS, 1995.

Ramkhalawansingh, Ceta. "Women During the Great War," in J. Acton et al., eds., Women at Work, 1850-1930, 4th ed. Toronto: 1974.

Reichman, Claude, Sécurité sociale, le vrai mal français. Paris : Éd. Les belles lettres, 1995.

Rice, James J., and Michael J. Prince, Changing Politics of Canadian Social Policy. University of Toronto Press, 2000.

Robson, William B.P. The future of pension policy; individual responsibility and state support, London, England: British-North American Committee. (1997).

Romo, Enrique. "The Origins of Mothers' Allowance Legislation in Ontario," MSW Research Paper, School of Social Work, Carleton University.(1979).

Royal Commission on Price Spreads, Report. (1935).

Royal Commission on Public Welfare. (1939). 2nd

Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital (Ontario), Royal Commission on the Prison and Reformatory System (1890), 4th.

Rutman, L. "Importation of British Waifs into Canada: 1868 to 1916", Child Welfare. (53:3, March).

Saywell, John. Canada: Pathways to the Present, Rev. ed. Toronto: Stoddart, 1999.

Simeon, Richard and Ian Robinson. State, society, and the development of Canadian federalism. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1990. (The Collected research studies / Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada).

Segalowitz, Ed. Planning for an Aging Society. Toronto, Ont.: Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, 1981.

Snell, James, G. The Citizen's Wage: The State and the Elderly in Canda, 1900-1951, Toronto: 1996.

Statistics Canada, A Portrait of Seniors in Canada, Ottawa. (1999).

Stevenson, J. British Society 1914-1945, 4th ed.

Strong-Boag, V. "Mothers' Allowances and the Beginnings of Social Security in Canada." Journal of Canadian Studies, 14:1,( Spring 1979). 5th.

Strong-Boag, V. The National Council of Women, 1893-1929. Ottawa: 1976. 4th.

Struthers, J. No Fault of Their Own: Unemployment and the Canadian Welfare State 1914-1941, 4th ed. Toronto: 1983.

Struthers, James. "Prelude to Depression, The Federal Government and Unemployment 1918-1929," CHR, 53:3. (September 1977).

Thompson, John Herd, with Allen Seager, Canada, 1922-1939: Decades of Discord. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.

Toby, The American tour of Messrs. Brown, James and Robinson; being the history of what they saw & did in the United States, Canada and Cuba by Toby, New York, D. Appleton, 1981 1872 2 microfiches (81 fr.). Filmed from a copy of the original publication held by the University of British Columbia Library, Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.

Townson, Monica. Pensions Under Attack : What's Behind the Push to Privatize Public Pensions. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2001.

Traves, T. The State and Enterprise. Toronto: 1979.

Tupper, Charles, Sir. Speech of the Honourable Provincial Secretary [i.e. Charles Tupper] on the union of the colonies, [S.1, s.n.] 1987, 1865 1 microfiche (12 fr.). Half title. " Dr. Tupper … addressed the House as follows … "-p. [3]. "[From the official reports of April 10, 1865] In double columns. Filmed from a copy of the original publication held by the Metropolitan Toronto Library, Canadian History Department, Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.

Vaillancourt, Yves, L'évolution des politiques sociales au Québec, 1940-1960. Montréal, Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1988.

von Bultzingsloewen, Isabelle, et Denis Pelletier, La charité en pratique. Chrétiens français et allemands sur le terrain social, XIXe - XXe siècles. Strasbourg : Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 1999.

Walsh, Michael G. Reforming the Canada Pension Plan. Kingston, Ont.: IRC Press, 1997.

Wilbur, J.R.H. The Bennett New Deal: Fraud or Portent?5th ed. Toronto: 1968.

Woodcock, George. The Century that made us; Canada 1814-1914. Toronto, Ont: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Woods, Walter S. Rehabilitation (a Combined Operation), Ottawa, 1953, ch. 24. Working Paper on Social Security in Canada (Orange Paper), (1973.) BDIE.

"You 'lied' on pensions, Mulroney told," Toronto Star (June 20, 1985).

Yudelman, John. National Context: A Report on Government Programs concerning the Elderly. Toronto: Hickling-Johnston, 1974.