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Balancing Expectations for Employability and Family Responsibilities While on Social Assistance: Low-Income Mothers’ Experiences in Three Canadian Provinces

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Drawing upon a discourse analysis of public-use policy documents and qualitative interview data, this paper explores how mothers on social assistance in three Canadian provinces balance actual or expected policy expectations of their employability (e.g., participation in welfare-to-work programming) with their caregiving responsibilities. The results suggest that mothers’ experiences of a time crunch, overload, and interference varied depending on their employability status and that they often experienced work-family conflict in ways similar to that experienced by working mothers not on assistance. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: caregiving; mothers; social assistance; welfare-to-work; work-family conflict

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2007.00473.x

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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