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Law Civil Rights


Rights, Social Citizenship, and Legal Activism

edited by Margot Young, Susan Boyd, Gwen Brodsky & Shelagh Day

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
Civil Rights, Poverty & Homelessness, General, Human Rights, Social Policy
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2008
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2007
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Recent years have seen the retrenchment of Canadian social programs and the restructuring of the welfare state along neo-liberal lines. Social programs have been cut back, eliminated, or recast in exclusionary and punitive forms. Poverty: Rights, Social Citizenship, and Legal Activism responds to these changes by examining the ideas and practices of human rights, citizenship, legislation, and institution-building that are crucial to addressing poverty in this country. It challenges prevailing assumptions about the role of governments and the methods of accountability in the field of social and economic justice.

About the authors

Professor, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia and Research Partner in the SSHRC-CURA Project, “Reconceiving Human Rights Practice,” online:


Margot Young's profile page

Susan Boyd's profile page

Gwen Brodsky is a leading national and international expert on human rights law, with graduate degrees from Harvard Law School and Osgoode Hall. She practises, teaches, and writes in the areas of human rights and constitutional law and she has acted as counsel in many Charter equality rights cases. An adjunct professor in the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, she has taught a course on social and economic rights and the Charter. Dr. Brodsky has written extensively about equality rights theory, the Charter, and access to justice problems experienced by members of disadvantaged groups. She is a Director of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre and she was LEAF’s first Litigation Director.


Gwen Brodsky's profile page

Shelagh Day is a well-known Canadian human rights expert and advocate. She is a Director of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre, whose central goal is to strengthen the human rights of the poorest women. She is also the publisher of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter, the leading law reporter on statutory human rights in Canada, and the co-author of two books and numerous articles on women’s equality rights: Women and the Equality Deficit is the leading study of the impact on women of restructuring Canada’s social programs, and One Step Forward, Two Steps Back was the first examination of how the Charter’s equality rights guarantee works for women. With extensive experience in the international field, Shelagh Day has appeared on behalf of Canadian women before United Nations treaty bodies examining Canada’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. She is the former Director of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, the first President of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and a founder of the Court Challenges Program. In addition, she was a Vice-President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) at the time of the Charlottetown Constitutional Talks. Currently, Shelagh Day is the Special Advisor on Human Rights to the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), and the Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA).


Shelagh Day's profile page

Editorial Reviews

In this volume, editors Margot Young, Susan B. Boyd, Gwen Brodsky, and Shelagh Day bring together a collection of essays intended to stimulate continued social, political, and legal anti-poverty activism or social justice. […] In total, this volume is an indispensable resource for scholars endeavoring to widen their understanding of social citizenship, poverty, and rights in ways that intertwine social policy and law. As well, some or all of the chapters will make valuable additions to graduate course syllabi n poverty, social movements, social policy, and he welfare state.

Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.33, No. 3, 2008

This collection transitions effortlessly between legal analysis, political commentary, and human rights advocacy. Featuring twenty different authors representing a range of interests and expertise, this collection provides a wide breadth of review on this topic ... This collaboration presents an important discussion on the range of barriers to equality which are found in Canadian society, particularly the Canadian judicial system.

Saskatchewan Law Review, Vol.71, 2008

Dry legal scholarship is rarely as infused with compassion as it is in this book. The 18 individually authored chapters are written by legal scholars and practitioners, social activists and professionals who are waging an ongoing struggle against Canadian poverty. …the chapters are thoughtful, insightful, and often compelling as well as Canadian-centric.

Choice, Vol. 45, No. 05

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