Poor mothers and their families constitute a core dilemma for a social welfare system that aims primarily to encourage and keep workers in the labor force. Public income transfers to these and other marginalized groups may be viewed as disincentives to seek paid work and have been characterized in Canada by stinginess and contradictions since the beginning of the XX century. This paper discusses recent transformations in these programs and their effects on families and individuals. Focusing specifically on poor mothers raising children alone, it argues that many gradual cuts and reshaping these programs have changed the character of the social welfare state in Canada, blocking escape routes from poverty for marginalized groups.
Public income transfers; Poverty; Single mothers