Author:Éric Gagnon Poulin (Laval University)
Paper short abstract:
In November 2016, Quebec adopted the Bill 70 to force first-time welfare recipients to enlist in employment programs, otherwise they could see their assistance reduced from $ 623 to $ 399 a month. This presentation analyses the impact of neoliberal economies on poverty reduction programs in Quebec.
Paper long abstract:
On the 10th of November 2016, the Government of Quebec adopted An Act to allow a better match between training and jobs and to facilitate labour market entry (bill 70), to force first-time welfare recipients considered "employable" to enlist in employment programs, otherwise they could see their assistance reduced from $623 to $399 a month. However, in 2002, the National Assembly adopted unanimously An Act to combat poverty and social exclusion (Bill 112) "to guide the Government… to combat poverty and counter social exclusion and strive towards a poverty-free society" (Quebec 2002, 2). Despite those hopeful intentions, a strong meritocratic mentality had already taken over the original inclusive model created in the 1960s. Since the end of 1970s, along with the neoliberalization of the economy, provincial and federal governments gradually redirected the responsibility towards individuals, focussing on employment programs and thereby creating welfare categories such as people with "severely limited capacity", "temporally limited capacity" or "without limited capacity for employment". This presentation analyses the impact of neoliberal economies on poverty reduction programs in Quebec, moving from a welfare to a workfare state, making individuals responsible for their own conditions without considering the socio-economic and other structural mechanisms that produce and reproduce poverty in society.