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Voices from the Shadows

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Voices from the Shadows examines Canada's inequitable, often punitive, welfare system. The film documents the tangled relationship between recipients and the welfare bureaucracy--the fear and rage of clients, the discretionary power of welfare workers burdened with massive case loads, and the politicians and managers struggling to keep budgets balanced. The film reveals the compelling stories of people whose lives are burdened by inadequate food and shelter allowances, demeaning stereotyping and feelings of personal failure. Yet adequate food, shelter and clothing were guaranteed to Canadians as inalienable rights by the Canada Assistance Plan announced in 1965. Is Canada's welfare system now hopelessly inadequate? How is one of Canada's most sacred social programs being destroyed? Voices from the Shadows is the haunting testimony of poor Canadians who demand to be treated with fairness and respect.

1992, 73 min 45 s