Abstract: Report of the Commission Appointed to Consider the Payment of Mothers' Allowances, 1930

Although the first legislation creating a commission to examine Mothers' Allowance was passed in 1923, a final report on the topic was not published until the Fall of 1930. The final report stated that the Commissioners, among other things, were instructed to investigate reasonable payments to mothers, to determine the cost of the program, and to inquire into alternate means of taxation to raise revenue. These instructions were contained in the enabling legislation dated 12 November 1929, though no record of it can be found, except for mention in the report itself.

The report begins on a philosophical note, discussing the underlying principles of Mothers' Allowance, noting that "[it] is the conviction, that, normally, the child's own mother is the very best person to whom the State can entrust the care and upbringing of its future citizens". However, the report soon turned to questions of cost and financing of the program and "classes of beneficiaries", delineating those women who would be eligible for the program, namely widows and wives of the permanently incapacitated. Deserted wives and the wives of incarcerated men were ineligible.

The Commission made a number of recommendations, including the rates at which allowances would be paid dependent on the number of children. The report also recommended that the county and incorporated cities would be responsible for fifty per cent of the benefit paid in that locale; that the full cost of administration should be paid by the province; and that there be a full time supervisor (to be a woman) be appointed, as well as a full time investigator, and full time field staff to examine applications for the allowance.

On the last point it is important to point out that, unlike social programs that came into effect in the post-World War II era in Canada, the principle of universality was not contained in the report. Women had to and, once accepted, as the Commissioners ominously noted, "it is to be strongly impressed upon the mother that in accepting the allowance she becomes an employee of the Province".


W. C. H. Grimmer
George A. Stone
R. A. Cross
H. F. MacLeod
J. B. Couniard
Oscar J. Dick

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