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Just Society Movement

The Just Society Movement was founded in 1968 by two single mothers, Doris Power and Suzanne Polgar, who were fed up with a welfare system that did not serve their needs. Cleverly named to hold Trudeau's Liberals accountable to their self-proclaimed commitment to a "Just Society," the JSM movement relied on grassroots organizing and information campaigns to contest unjust laws and educate welfare recipients about their rights. JSM representatives often set up tables outside of welfare offices that were spreading misinformation about the welfare act and organized campaigns and protests to improve poor people's access to information and benefits.

Run by volunteers, the majority of which were women, the Just Society Movement became a major force within the Toronto left during the late 1960s. Although its strength began to wane by 1971 the JSM produced a major impact on the lives of their volunteer organizers, the welfare recipients that they helped, and the Toronto left more generally.

See also:

"Just Society Movement: Toronto's Poor Organize," George Ford and Steven Langdon, Canadian Dimension 7 (June-July 1970), 19-23.

"Just Society Plans Day Care Centre". Seven News, Volume 1, Number 7, August 28, 1970, P. 5.

"The Just Society Movement." Howard Buchbinder, in Brian Wharf, ed., Community Work in Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Sewart, 1979), 129-152;

Margaret Hillyard Little, "Militant Mothers Fight Poverty: The Just Society Movement, 1968-1971," Labour / Le Travail, vol. 59, (Spring 2007), 179-197.

Toronto’s Poor: A Rebellious History. Bryan D. Palmer & Gaetan Heroux. Between the Lines. 2016.

"The Just Society Movement: For the Poor by the Poor - A Model for Grass-Roots Activism". Finn Coyle, 2017.

Related Topics: Community OrganizingFamilies/One-ParentGrassroots CampaignsThe PoorPovertyPoverty/FamiliesSingle-Parent FamiliesSocial Justice IssuesWomen/PovertyWomen’s Issues/Advocacy