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Language Policy in Canada

Language policy is comprised of a body of theory, principles, laws, programs and measures designed to manage one or more languages in a country. In monolingual societies, language policy is usually concerned with promoting an approved, standardized grammar of the common language. In bilingual or multilingual societies, it is intended to manage situations in which two or more languages are in contact and/or conflict, and to enhance the use and status of certain languages over others. Language policy in Canada has been designed to manage historical relationships among multiple languages – notably FrenchEnglish and Indigenous languages - and their various communities. While it has evolved over time, Canadian language policy has not always been marked by positive or just measures.

Article

The White Paper, 1969

The 1969 White Paper (formally known as the “Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, 1969”) was a Canadian government policy paper that attempted to abolish previous legal documents relating to Indigenous peoples in Canada, including the Indian Act and  treaties. It also aimed to assimilate all “Indian” peoples under the Canadian state. The 1969 White Paper was proposed by Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development  Jean Chrétien and Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau to widespread criticism. The policy proposed to eliminate Indian Status, incorporate First Nations under provincial government responsibilities, and impose land decisions, notions of private property and economic agendas on Indigenous communities. The backlash to the 1969 White Paper was monumental, leading not only to its withdrawal in 1970, but to a wave of activism, academic work and court decisions over the next five decades. (See also Indigenous Political Organization and Activism in Canada and Indigenous Peoples in Canadian Law.)

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Social and Welfare Services

There is a general division in Canada between social security programs and social and welfare services. Social security programs, which are the responsibility of all levels of government, provide direct economic assistance in one form or another to individuals or families. Included in this category are programs such as Family Allowances, Old Age Pensions and provincial and municipal social-assistance programs.

Article

Housing and Housing Policy

Canadian housing takes many forms. More than half of Canadian homes are single-family detached houses; 17% are other ground-oriented forms such as row houses, duplexes, semi-detached or movable; 18% are lowrise apartments and 10% are highrise apartments.

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Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Canada (EPC) is a federal government organization within the Department of National Defence. It plays an important role in the development and maintenance of civil emergency preparedness in Canada.

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Secularism in Quebec

The Quiet Revolution (1960–1970) gave rise to secularism within Quebec society. The latter became both secular by widening the separation between Church and State, as well as non-confessional by removing religion from institutions. 

However, the issue of secularism is still a matter for debate. In June 2019, the passage of the Act Respecting the Laicity of the State fueled many discussions about the place of religion in public domain.

Macleans

Teen Killing in Toronto

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 29, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

At the foot of Dmitri Baranovski's bed are some weights, a soccer ball, tennis rackets and - what his stepfather picked up at a garage sale to help him adjust to Canadian life - a football and two hockey sticks.

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Governments and Music

Government has played an increasingly significant role in shaping Canada's musical life through legislation, regulation, and consultation, and through direct or arm's-length financial and organizational assistance.

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Public Health

Public health is concerned with the overall physical and MENTAL HEALTH of the community. Interest in public health was fostered by the poor health standards that prevailed in the overcrowded cities of the Industrial Revolution.

Macleans

Toronto Bans Smoking

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 15, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

The doors of The Pilot Tavern were wide open last Wednesday evening, but the unseasonably cool breezes wafting through the popular Toronto pub did little to clear the air. Like the tobacco haze hanging over the long, dark bar, a tough, new antismoking bylaw threatened to poison the atmosphere.

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Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Social conditions, including health, income, education, employment and community, contribute to the well-being of all people. Among the Indigenous population in Canada (i.e., First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples), social conditions have been impacted by the dispossession of cultural traditions, social inequities, prejudice and discrimination. Social conditions also vary greatly according to factors such as place of residence, income level, and family and cultural factors. While progress with respect to social conditions is being achieved, gaps between the social and economic conditions of Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people in Canada persist.

Article

Social Security

Social security refers to government programs that replace people's income lost due to pregnancy, illness, accident, disability, the death or absence of a family's breadwinner, unemployment, old age or retirement.

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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.

Article

Quebec Language Policy

Quebec is the only province in Canada where francophones make up the majority population. For almost two centuries, many have maintained that preserving the French language was the only possible safeguard for the survival of the Quebec nation (see Francophone Nationalism in Quebec). However, it wasn’t until the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s that governments in Quebec began to actively legislate on the issue. Since 1974, French has been the only official language in the province, although some government services remain accessible in English. Quebec has the distinction of being bilingual on constitutional and federal levels, while officially allowing only French in its provincial institutions.

Macleans

Kids' Safety and Sexual Predators

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 10, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

She bears the burden of it still, more than a year after finally summoning the courage to reveal her terrible secret. So call her Carol. It is not her real name but it does offer whatever small comfort anonymity can provide.