Identical Origins, Divergent Paths: Filial Responsibility Laws in Canada and the United States
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This dissertation examines the origins of filial responsibility laws in Canada and the United States, laws which prescribe that adult children have an obligation of support which is owed to their parents. Filial responsibility laws enable an indigent parent, or an institution providing medical treatment and care to an indigent parent, to seek financial support from that parent’s adult children through the use of litigation. While those who favour these rarely-used laws claim that they bring many benefits to both the family and the state, there is little evidence to suggest that such benefits are actualized. The development and use of the laws in Canada and the United States make it clear that the limitation of the expenditure of government funds was the primary motive for these laws and the support of families a distant secondary motive.