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Research report

Towards a healthy activation policy

Activation policies, which combine last-resort financial assistance and employment assistance, have consequences on the health and well-being of an already strongly disadvantaged population. Personalized interventions can be a great support if they lead to relatively good quality employment. However, they may also represent an extra burden or entail punitive obligations, without being particularly effective in terms of employment insertion. In this case, they may render an already psycho-socially disadvantaged and complex existence even more difficult, and have a significant impact on chronic stress, exacerbate a tendency for isolation and unhealthy behaviours, and affect personal dignity.

Personalized interventions can be a great support if they lead to relatively good quality employment.

What is the impact on health and well-being of participation, especially repeated participation, in activation measures? The very fact of being a social assistance recipient is bad for one's health, and the effects increase with time. These effects are linked to extreme poverty, the fact of living at the bottom of the ladder in a rich society, being marginalized or excluded and feelings of uselessness. An adequate level of financial assistance is necessary for ensuring basic health, in addition to other social and economic policies that act to prevent social polarization and foster universal inclusion, including access to steady employment.

Finally, it is not sufficient for project agents to receive only technical-administrative training. These agents have to interpret the global situation of persons living under complex conditions, offer an appropriate response to a crisis situation, and provide continued and adapted support. A lack of professional training can lead to serious medium- and long-term consequences on the life path, health and well-being of this vulnerable population.


Main researcher: Deena White, Université de Montréal

Original title: L'évaluation d'impact sur la santé et le bien-être des prestataires de sécurité du revenu des services intégrés de sécurité du revenu et d'emploi

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