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Posted on April 23rd, 2014, by

The U.S. response to Great Depression challenge was featured with unified political will at this part. Obviously, we should make references to Social Security Act promoted by Roosevelt’s administration and passed in 1933. Even today, this legal act remains the systemized basis of federal Welfare system, with little additions passed in next decades. As for the Canada, it was not so determined with the political will. As well as Roosevelt, R.B. Bennett initiated a pretty impressive number of reformations in appropriate field, including minimum wages, working hours, and unemployment insurance. However, no one of them was supported on legislative level. Thereby, all federal subsidies had the nature of temporary agreement with municipal formations. The absence of systemized federal approach to Welfare is the factor that made Canada different from U.S.A.

The second difference is the volume of successfully addressed issues concerning the Welfare system. The Social Security Act of 1935, aimed to give needed federal assistant to plight of American citizens. Among them are: the elderly, dependent children, and the handicapped. A Social Security Act is still treated as one of the most significant Roosevelt’s achievements. Financed by the federal government and the states, the act offered workers age 65 or older monthly stipends based on previous earnings, and it gave the indigent elderly small relief payments. In addition, it provided assistance to blind and handicapped Americans and to dependent children who did not have a wage-earning parent. The act also established the nation’s first federally-sponsored system of unemployment insurance. Mandatory payroll deductions levied equally on employees and employers financed both the retirement system and the unemployment insurance (Mintz).  By the way, Roosevelt’s was largely criticized by opponents who noted the sense of socialism in his reformations. However, the President found the strength to overcome these difficulties. In its turn, Canadian government amended the Old Age Pension Act in 1937 to include blind persons over 40, passed the Prairie Farm Assistance Act in 1939 to help farmers devastated by drought conditions, and established the Canadian Wheat Board (Guest). In addition, Act for Employment and Social Insurance was passed in 1935, as part of RB Bennett’s New Deal, but was successfully challenged by provinces as unconstitutional, and in 1937 the Act was declared as beyond the powers of the federal government by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain, the final court of appeal for Canada at the time. (Irwing). In 1940, started by R.B. Bennett social security campaign was partially succeeded by The Unemployment Insurance Act. However, it is difficult to say that this event belongs to the Great Depression period, as the main sufferings were already passed. In this order, we may conclude that the design of effective federal Welfare system took much more time in Canadian. As well as in U.S., its main roots really take place from the times of Great Depression’s horrible consequences. However, the total legal confirmation of federal social security system was witnessed only several decades later.

Being clear with all read material, we are ready to make the conclusion. In this order, it should be said that political approaches to social policies in both states during Great Depression era had a lot of similarities. Mostly, this idea is determined by the New Deal concepts that took place in both suffering countries. However, being similarly directed and focused, Roosevelt’s and Bennett’s campaigns have many differences with obtained outcomes. In this regard, we come back to the beginning of this paper where it is noted that social policies of two countries are difficult to be analyzed according to local specifics, involved personalities, legal peculiar properties, and other specialties of two countries under the target. Whatever the differences are, both U.S. and Canada were able to get the revolutionary transformations even during the hardest times in theirs’ histories. There is a talk about the birth of federal Welfare concept, which is not associated only to socialistic regime anymore. The cruel times of 1930th allowed contemporary generations to feel the support of government with the hardest life circumstances, and this is probably the greatest outcome of Great Depression times.

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