Canadian Forum on Civil Justice

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Historically, the dominant discourse within the welfare state was one of redistribution and the paternalistic protection of citizens against social risks such as unemployment, illness, disability and retirement. Over the past few decades, changes in social policy have been introduced which are directed towards “social investment” and empowering citizens rather than protecting them. The social investment model focuses on investing public money and time in social programs such as housing, healthcare, employment insurance, child benefits and education with an eye to providing all citizens with opportunities that will enable them to take responsibility for themselves and their families. In practice, social investment targets marginalized peoples because they are the ones who are believed to benefit the most from small investments in their human capital and are the least likely to generate their own human capital investment. Public funds for social investment are raised through progressive taxation that has the double effect of generating funds for investing in marginal peoples and having a redistributive effect.

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