The Social Safety Net for Working-Age Adults

An ongoing challenge for Canada, as for most advanced economies, is having to balance the pursuit of economic growth with mitigating the risks of job displacement and polarization and ensuring that benefits and opportunities are shared equitably among its citizens. This research program broadens the definition of social safety net beyond the traditional boundaries of income support programs and examines a range of policies and programs to promote economic opportunity, income security and inclusion for Canadian workers. This research program was directed by Colin Busby and is currently overseen by Rachel Samson.

The current research agenda focuses on the following themes:

  • Addressing gaps in traditional social insurance and income transfer programs
  • Reinforcing active labour market policies and programs to facilitate work and job transitions
  • Modernizing labour market rules, legislation, and institutions

Work in progress

  • Social assistance income adequacy and incentives to work
  • Rules for working while on employment insurance
  • Employment Insurance benefits duration
  • Employee status and implications for the social safety net
  • Wage setting, inequality and the working poor
  • Options to reform existing income support programs to operate more like a basic income
  • Housing affordability

Latest Research


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