“Like the Catholic Church, Social Security Must Be Universal.” The International Labour Office’s 1943 Ambitions for a Second Atlantic Charter Viewed from the Perspective of Canada-Quebec Politics

Cory Verbauwhede, Université du Québec à Montréal

Bismarck taught us that social policy is inextricable from state-building processes. Federal states, in which jurisdictions are divided, therefore provide crucial research data to understand the symbiotic link between the two. A summer 1943 meeting on “social security” marked the crest of international universalist social policy thinking in transatlantic expert circles, and this was epitomized in the social insurance section of the International Labour Office in the person of Oswald Stein. The contrast between its ambitious program and the ILO’s own Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, adopted in 1952, is stark. The distance between such state-building discourse and the realities of national politics will be explored by contrasting the experts’ technocratic vision with what happened in Canada and in Quebec in the decade following the meeting. At that time, the two entities were locked in a battle of sovereignties in which the kind of social policy which was to be adopted played a major role.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 175. The International Labor Organization beyond Europe: Out of Reach or Out of Touch?