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Abstract

This paper uses a recent survey of welfare leavers in Toronto to examine Workfare, a uniquely American initiative introduced into Canada, with its different welfare state history and traditions. When classic American workfare was imported by an enthusiastic government in Ontario, its application led to employment outcomes remarkably similar to those in the US (reduced caseloads, insecure and contingent employment, high recidivism). Yet, Canada's earlier commitment to community and collective responsibility have not been entirely subsumed below the overarching American umbrella. Welfare programs in Canada-specifically, workfare-reflect both the difficulties of maintaining great difference, and also the possibilities of following an alternate path.

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