Richard 'Dick' Splane

With sadness the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) acknowledges the passing of Richard ‘Dick’ Splane, a former CASW President from 1979-1981. Dick died peacefully at Crofton Manor in Vancouver, in his 100th year. He was the chief architect of the Canada Assistance Plan, a federal-provincial cost-sharing program that helped maintain national standards for social services, and was one of Canada's leading social workers. After two years as a teacher in a one-room school in Alberta, Dick went to McMaster University where he studied History and Political Science. Later, following his service as a RCAF pilot and later a member of a Lancaster Squadron on Bomber Command in England during World War II, he attended the London School of Economics where he studied Social Science and Administration. There he became deeply involved in the world of social welfare. He returned to Canada in 1947 where Dick finished his Master's degree in History at the University of Toronto, returning in 1951 for a MSW and in 1961, for a DSW. Between 1952 and 1972 he worked for the federal government where he carried senior responsibilities during the development of Canada's social security system. As director of unemployment assistance and assistant deputy minister of social allowances he had a leading role in the creation of the Canada Assistance Plan. He also served as Canada's representative at international meetings of ministers and officials at the United Nations Expert Group on Social Welfare Policy and Planning and served on the UNICEF Board in 1961 and 1964. While working in the federal government and in later years, he served on the boards and executive committees of the International Council on Social Welfare, the International Association of Schools of Social Work, and the North American Regional Association of the International Association of Schools of Social Work. He was also President of the World Federalists, Canada and was an active member of the Vancouver branch of the United Nations Association, Canada. In 1972, he accepted a position at the University of Alberta as a visiting professor, and in 1973 he became Professor of Social Policy in the School of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, a position he held until his retirement in 1982. Dick was the recipient of many provincial, national and international medals and honours recognizing his achievements in social welfare and planning. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004. Annually, UBC's School of Social Work, United Nations Association in Canada, the World Federalist Movement, and UBC's Liu Institute for Global Issues sponsor the Dr. Richard B. Splane Lecture in Social Policy.