What’s Happening at HRSDC?

Here’s a conundrum. Diane Finley was appointed as Minister of Human Resources and SKILLS Development, though the Minister she replaces was the Minister of Human Resources and SOCIAL Development. If you go to the web site for the Department of Human Resources and SOCIAL Development, you’ll find that the Minister is the Minister of Human Resources and SKILLS Development.


By way of recent history, a separate Department and Minister of Social Development (Ken Dryden) briefly existed at the end of the Liberal regime, but the two parts of HRSDC were re combined by Harper.

Was the change in title intended to send a signal that the social development role is being downgraded?


  • That’s a good catch. Errr, but the link doesn’t work.

  • FYI, the link is fixed now.

  • I just came across this article from the Canadian Press, which quotes Stephen Harper’s spokesman, Kory Teneycke, saying that the change was intended.

    Ministry drops Social from name

    Author: Sue Bailey
    Publication date: 6 Nov 08
    Source: Canadian Press

    As Americans herald a new political era of hope and social inclusion, Canada’s government has stripped the words “social development” from the title of one of its largest cabinet posts.

    Diane Finley became the new minister last week of Human Resources and Skills Development — formerly known as Human Resources and Social Development.

    Conservatives say the quiet name change signals renewed focus on skills training and a faltering economy.

    “It was intentional, obviously,” said Kory Teneycke, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    “I think the best thing that one can do to help improve the life of someone who is unemployed is to help them get another job.”

    Anti-poverty advocates say the subtle shift is a powerful sign of the latest Tory regression on social issues. This is the same government, they stress, that gutted the $5.1-billion Kelowna Accord to lift aboriginal living standards and scrapped provincial agreements for a national child-care plan.

    Ottawa does provide billions of dollars a year to the provinces to help fund health, education and a range of social programs.

    “But their focus has not ever been on social development,” said Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “I think they’re going to be in a bit of a squeeze this time because you’ve got six provinces that have woken up and smelled the coffee.”

    Quebec, Newfoundland, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and New Brunswick have all put in place or announced plans for poverty-cutting strategies, Yalnizyan said.

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