Social Issues | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Education of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

    Before contact with Europeans, Indigenous peoples educated their youth through traditional means — demonstration, group socialization, participation in cultural and spiritual rituals, skill development and oral teachings. The introduction of European classroom-style education as part of a larger goal of assimilation disrupted traditional methods and resulted in cultural trauma and dislocation. Reformers of Indigenous education policies are attempting to reintegrate traditional teachings and provide more cultural and language-based support to enhance and improve the outcomes of Indigenous children in the education system.

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  • Article

    Abortion in Canada

    Abortion is the premature ending of a pregnancy. Inducing an abortion was a crime in Canada until 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the law as unconstitutional. Since then, abortion has been legal at any stage in a woman’s pregnancy. Abortion is publicly funded as a medical procedure under the Canada Health Act. (See Health Policy.) However, access to abortion services differs across the country. Despite its legalization, abortion remains one of the most divisive political issues of our time.

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  • Article


    Aging is a continual biological, psychological and social process from infancy to old age. Conventionally, the term narrowly refers to the transition from adulthood to old age. Population aging refers to a decline in relative numbers of young people and an increase in relative numbers of old people.

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  • Article


    Illnesses that this infection can produce include a transient disease, developing within several months of exposure. It is characterized by rash, fever, malaise, joint pains and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes).

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  • Article


    Alcoholism is a behaviour pattern characterized by uncontrolled drinking of alcoholic beverages to the extent of impairing health and social functioning.

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  • Article

    Antifeminism in Québec

    ​Antifeminism is a counter-movement that is opposed to feminism and that seeks to thwart efforts to emancipate women. Antifeminism has evolved in response to advances made by the feminist movement.

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  • Article


    The Basilian Fathers, or Congregation of St Basil, founded in France in 1822, are now centred in Toronto. They came to Canada in 1850 and in 1852 founded St Michael's College there.

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  • Article

    Birth Control in Canada

    Birth control means the deliberate prevention of conception and pregnancy. The birth control methods used in Canada range from the simplest (like abstinence) to the most complex (like male or female surgical sterilization). (See also History of Birth Control in Canada.)

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  • Article

    Canada's Opioid Crisis

    Overdoses from a class of painkiller drugs called opioids are claiming the lives of thousands of Canadians from all walks of life. The death count is the result of an escalating public health crisis: an epidemic of opioid addiction. The crisis is made deadlier by an influx of illicit fentanyl and chemically similar drugs, but it can be traced to the medical over-prescribing of opioids, including oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.

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  • Article

    Child Abuse

    Children have been maltreated and exploited throughout history. Evidence even exists that child abuse existed during the prehistoric period. Children have long been considered family property. Fathers in ancient times could sell, mutilate or kill their children.

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  • Article

    Child Labour

    Child labour is defined as the regular employment of boys and girls under the age of 15 or 16. Attitudes toward child labour have altered dramatically since the late 18th century, when it was generally assumed that children should contribute to the family economy from about age seven. By the beginning of the 20th century most Canadian provinces had enacted labour legislation to restrict the employment of children.

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  • Article

    Child Migration to Canada

    Migration is a unique experience for a child and Canada receives child migrants from all over the world. Some children come as unaccompanied minors and claim refugee status, some come alone and wait to be reunited with their families, while others are international adoptees by Canadian families.

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  • Macleans

    Child Poverty in Canada

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 24, 1997. Partner content is not updated. At times, the surroundings must seem grim. The white walls are devoid of decoration, except for a home-made Valentine addressed to "Maman" on the refrigerator, and twin beds are pushed together in the dining-room to create more space.

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  • Macleans

    Child-Sex Trade Thriving in Cambodia

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 24, 2003. Partner content is not updated.

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  • Article

    Computers and Canadian Society

    Canadians use computers in many aspects of their daily lives. Eighty-four per cent of Canadian families have a computer in the home, and many people rely on these devices for work and education. Nearly everyone under the age of 45 uses a computer every day, including mobile phones that are as capable as a laptop or tablet computer. With the widespread use of networked computers facilitated by the Internet, Canadians can purchase products, do their banking, make reservations, share and consume media, communicate and perform many other tasks online. Advancements in computer technologies such as cloud computing, social media, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are having a significant impact on Canadian society. While these and other uses of computers offer many benefits, they also present societal challenges related to Internet connectivity, the digital divide, privacy and crime.

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