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The Canada Social Transfer (CST) is the primary source of federal funding in Canada that supports provincial and territorial social programs, specifically, post secondary education, social assistance, social services, and programs for children. In 2007, legislated funding for the CST was extended to 2013-2014, putting it on the same long-term predictable legislative track as the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). As both 2014 and the review of the CHT and CST are fast approaching, conversations have begun at the federal level about the Canada Health Transfer. The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), a national organization that has adopted a pro-active approach to addressing issues pertinent to social policy and social work practice in Canada, calls for a similar approach of review of the Canada Social Transfer (CST) to be undertaken at the federal level.

In light of this approach, the CASW placed a request for a proposal to explore historical, current, and potential roles, policies, and practices related to the Canada Social Transfer. Given that the Canada Social Transfer is the primary source of federal funding in Canada that supports provincial and territorial social programs, specifically in the areas of post secondary education, social assistance, social services, and programs for children, it has considerable implications for the well-being of all Canadians and for the sustainability of Canada’s social programs. While the Canada Health Transfer is attached to a set of conditions through the Canada Health Act, the Canada Social Transfer is a largely unconditional transfer, a fact that has come into question over time by scholars, policy-makers and activists.

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