Criminalizing Race, Criminalizing Poverty
Welfare Fraud Enforcement in Canada
The criminalization and penalization of poverty through increased surveillance and control of welfare recipients in recent years has led many poverty advocates to claim that “a war against the poor” is currently in progress. The authors argue that people of colour are most often the casualties in the governments’ desire to roll back the welfare state. Relying on myths and stereotypes about racial difference, the enforcement and policing of welfare fraud policies constructs people of colour as potential “cheaters” and “abusers” of the system. This has allowed for the stigmatizing and discriminatory treatment of people of colour to persist unchallenged within the welfare system.
Kiran Mirchandani is associate professor in the Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her research focuses on home-based work, telework, contingent work,entrepreneurship, transnational service work and self-employment.
Wendy Chan received her BA (Hons) in English Literature and Law from Carleton University, her MA in Socio-legal Studies from the University of Sheffield, her MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, and her PhD in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.