“This is a stunning, often terrifying report on the dehumanizing effect of government policy. It’s gritty, grim, but never hysterical. Voices From The Shadows is a first-rate, frontline documentary made in the best journalistic traditions. It must be seen.”

Toronto Star

“This week’s documentary in CBC’s Witness Series is a powerful profile of the country’s underclass…Scary stuff – and not very pleasant viewing. If you can handle a stiff hit of reality on the tube tonight check out Voices From the Shadows.”

Montreal Gazette

“A gritty film, at times as bleak as the lives it portrays…The documentary has undeniable power…The sheer desperation of poverty and the courage required of those who face it daily create a lasting discomfort.”

Maclean's Magazine

“Voices From The Shadows is a classic example of the bleeding heart journalism…The film leaves the impression of being yet another politically correct whine.”

Globe and Mail

A film by Peter Raymont & Lindalee Tracey | Canada | English | 77′ / 73′


Is social assistance a right or a privilege? Is Canada’s welfare system hopelessly inadequate? What has happened to one of the nation’s most sacred social programs? These are some of the vital questions at the heart of Voices from the Shadows.

Critically examining the welfare policies of four Canadian provinces, Voices from the Shadows is the compelling drama of a group of very different individuals and families struggling to survive. It is the story of living with poverty, of what benefits these citizens can receive and the patchwork of complicated laws and policies that determine their eligibility for assistance.

Hauntingly real, Voices from the Shadows echoes the voices of poor Canadians who ask nothing more than to be treated with fairness and respect.

Produced by Investigative Productions, in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The National Film Board of Canada, the Ontario Centre, with the participation with Telefilm Canada, Ontario Film Development Corporation, and theRogers Telefund