Marsh, Leonard Charles

Leonard Charles Marsh, social scientist, professor (b at London, Eng 24 Sept 1906; d at Vancouver 10 May 1982). Marsh came to Canada in 1930 after studies at the London School of Economics. He was director of an interdisciplinary social-science research program at McGill 1930-41 and an early member of the group of social reformers which eventually became the LEAGUE FOR SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION. He made major editorial contributions to the league's influential book, Social Planning for Canada (1935, repr 1975). His Canadians In and Out of Work (1940), written almost 2 decades before John PORTER's The VERTICAL MOSIAC, was the first significant analysis of the impact of social class on Canadian society. Marsh was research adviser on the federal Committee on Post-War Reconstruction 1941-44 and published his Report on Social Security for Canada in 1943 (repr 1975). Although the government paid little attention at the time, most of the major elements in his program had become law by 1966 and are the basis of the modern Canadian SOCIAL SECURITY system.

Marsh was welfare adviser to the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (1944-46), professor and director of research at the School of Social Work, UBC (1948-64) and professor of educational sociology, UBC (1964-72). He retired in 1973 but continued to write and lecture, his writings reflecting his interests, which ranged from cats to music. His contribution to society, considered unparalleled by some, has not yet been adequately evaluated.