Restraint by government in the area of social service spending in the 1980's has become an issue of grave concern for social service practitioners, planners, and administrators. The emergence in North America of neo-conservative economic policies has engendered a body of critical and provocative literature which examines the effects of "restraint economics".

Recent work in geography has sought to locate the supply-side trend within a framework of macro-level processes. These suggest that a declining public commitment to maintaining the social safety net is linked to broader structural changes in the workplace and spatial shifts of capital and industry (Dear & Clark 1981, Peet 1983, Soja et al 1983, Ross R. 1983).

These trends have not been as well documented in Canada. Yet, there is much to suggest that policies introduced by the British Columbia government in 1983 reflect, on a regional scale, the same patterns and processes inferred by geographers in the U.S. context.

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