Prior to the implementation of the Equal Opportunity program in the 1960s, most New Brunswickers, many of them Francophone, lived with limited access to welfare, education, and health services.
New Brunswick's social services framework was similar to that of nineteenth-century England, and many people experienced the patronizing attitudes inherent in these laws.
New Brunswick before the Equal Opportunity Program examines the observations and experiences of New Brunswick's early social workers, who operated under this system, and illuminates how Premier Louis J.
Robichaud's Equal Opportunity program transformed the province's social services. Authors Laurel Lewey, Louis J. Richard, and Linda Turner, describe more than a century of social work history, including the work of the earliest Acadian social workers.
They also address the fact that the federal government did not take responsibility for social welfare of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet people, planning for assimilation instead.
Clan structures continued to be relied on while subsisting upon inadequate relief provisions.