Harry Cassidy (1900-1951)

Harry and Bea Cassidy 1925
Harry and Bea Cassidy in Victoria, B.C. Aug. 1, 1925

Harry Morris Cassidy was a labor economist and became a leader in the development of social policy in Canada throughout his active career as an academic and public servant. After graduating from the University of British Columbia, he received a Ph.D. from the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. This led to appointments at the University of North Carolina, Rutgers, University of California (Berkley), and the University of Toronto.

He was a member of The League for Social Reconstruction. In the early 1930s he was a contributor to the Regina Manifesto which led to the formation of the CCF party in 1934. As Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare in British Columbia from 1934-39, he piloted the development of the first health insurance program in Canada.

Harry was Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of California (Berkeley) from 1939-45. He then returned to Canada to lead the newly established graduate program in social work at the University of Toronto.

As a consultant to the Canadian government, he was one of the authors of the first federal family allowance program introduced in 1948. Internationally recognized, he served with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association in 1944 and as a welfare consultant to the Egyptian government in 1949. Just prior to his death in 1951, he ran (almost successfully) for leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. Harry Cassidy was a social activist who was ahead of his time.