We often tend to forget that Canada, a wealthy country with abundant opportunities, suffers from poverty. Thankfully, the welfare system helps provide financial assistance to those who need it but many receivers abuse it, making the program highly controversial. The right of the spectrum believes that welfare has worsened the problem of poverty and that it should be limited, hence making the poor responsible for their income. Meanwhile, the left side of the spectrum believes that the government is responsible for this and should keep on providing financial aid to those in need.
The issue concerning welfare can be explained through the structural-functionalism approach, which views society as “a system of interrelated parts that work together in order to operate in a stable, orderly manner” (p. 19). By providing financial support to those who are in need, receivers can afford to pay for basic needs and look for a job so that they too can contribute to society’s economy and function. This keeps them from owing money and affecting society in a negative way.
However, when receivers take this financial support for granted and do not follow the intended steps such as using the money wisely and looking for a job, this results in a latent function which is dependency on this financial support. The issue worsens as welfare-dependent families have more children who often end up being poor themselves, creating a continuing cycle of poverty. Additionally, abuse of the system also creates tension within society because some people are not contributing to society’s economy and functioning the way they are supposed to.
This frustrates tax payers who in turn often look down on all individuals who need financial support, even though the majority uses it wisely. In my opinion, the welfare program has the potential to be very beneficial to the poor and society as whole but unfortunately, like many other programs in Canada, our government fails to keep up with what the money is being spent on. Although hiring investigators would mean an extra fee, I believe that this would help immensely and reduce the amount lost through the misuse of this financial aid significantly.
Another issue with the program is that it is too easily accessible and as a result, too many people abuse it. The program could be improved by increasing and adding requirements such as being employed to have access to it unless they are officially unable to work (approved by a doctor). Finally, receivers should be obligated to look for jobs and have access to free guidance to ensure they are contributing to society, and this too should be investigated. If jobs are not plentiful, then it should be the government’s responsibility to create more jobs.