Canadian Association of Social Workers Report on Social Transfer

OTTAWA, March 19, 2012 – The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) today issued a comprehensive report aimed at bringing attention to the lack of accountability inherent in the receipt and delivery of the Canadian Social Transfer.  Entitled Canada Social Transfer Project - Accountability Matters, the Report outlines recommendations on renewing accountability for the billions transferred annually from the federal to provincial governments in support of social services, childcare and post-secondary education.

“The Canadian Social Transfer is inarguably a largely unconditional transfer that has no measures to ensure any level of accountability with respect to social programs across Canada,” states CASW President, Morel Caissie. “Given the public’s demand for accountability on spending by all levels of government, it is shocking that no such reporting requirements exist.”

On December 20th, 2011the Minister of Finance announced that the 3% annual increase in the Canada Social Transfer will continue until the 2016-17 fiscal year. Noticeably absent from this unilateral announcement was any indication that the development of transfer principles or accountability reporting is a priority for this government. More recently, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development declared that the government will be seeking new ways to make the non-profit sector accountable to public spending and outcomes through adopting a type of social impact bond, though details have yet to be announced.

“In principle CASW supports new accountability mechanisms for the non-profit sector however we believe the government should be leading by example,” states Caissie. “The current arrangement for the spending of billons through the Canadian Social Transfer does not satisfy the need for the federal and provincial governments to remain accountable to each other.”

Unless there is a dramatic shift, the Government of Canada has effectively abandoned any national leadership in developing provincial and territorial consensus on accountability to the delivery of the Canadian Social Transfer. Since the Harper Government came into power in 2006, the provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Social Services have not met with their federal counterparts. This has to change.

CASW is calling for the Council of the Federation and by extension, the provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Social Services and their federal counterparts, to make the renewal of accountability to the Canadian Social Transfer an immediate priority.

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The full report is available at the following links:

Canada Social Transfer Project - Accountability Matters  (English)

Étude sur le Transfert canadien en matière de programmes sociaux (Français)

Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) was founded in 1926 and has evolved into a national non-profit social work organization that promotes the profession of social work in Canada and advances social justice.

For further information:
Fred Phelps, Executive Director
Tel: 613-729-6668
E-mail: fred.phelps@casw-acts.ca