Social Welfare in Canada, c. 1954

J. Gordon Whitehead, who punched Harry Houdini on the night that he died*, himself died of malnutrition in 1954. He was a recluse and a hoarder and doubtless had struggled with mental illness.

Was Canada’s social welfare system in 1954 such that he could have gotten help (with obtaining food) if he wanted it? The Canadian version of food stamps, as it were? Were other forms of welfare available to him if he wanted it? Or was it quite possible at that time that a Canadian could have starved to death from inability to purchase food?

*Yes, I know that whether or not the blows delivered by Whitehead actually killed Houdini is a matter of dispute.

The social state was in place, so the fellow would not have died of starvation for lack of any social support programs in 1954 . . .
. . . unless, that is, he was one of the Barrens Caribou People to the west of Hudson’s Bay.

Due to famine, their population declined from 120 to 60 between 1950 through 1959. 1950 Canadian caribou famine - Wikipedia

Here is a link to a photo by Richard Harrington that pretty much sums it up.

Let’s try that pic link again:

I wonder who the baby is. Did either of them survive? Is the baby alive today, and if so, what was his or her life like.