This article is an essay, based on the attempted assessment ofresearch in the social sciences on aging in Canada and in Quebec during the last 20 years. It endeavours o t understand this area as based on institutional factors, including linguistic, cultural and political divisions between English Canada and Quebec, and the role of some major forces. Canadian research on aging is profoundly based on a social democratic vision of the role of the State that establishes the basic concept of citizenship, rights, liberties, justice and equality. It consequently contributes to maintaining the protective, redistributive, regulatory andcorrection ofinequalities that the State carries out through its social and fiscal policies. In the space of 20 years, the social sciences of aging in Canada have gone from a representation of aging characterized by decline, unavoidable physical and often psychic deterioration of capacities, impoverishment, and exclusion to a much more qualified vision of aging distinguished by the search for autonomy, adaptation, and growth in which seniors do not succumb passively to their condition but rather become responsible for their own development. At the same time, researchers, as well as experts and decision makers in the area ofaging, have turned progressively from an analysis of aging centred on social problems and the programs aimed to meet these problems, which encouraged the development of the state as provider, to an analysis of the forces and resources which seniors have or could obtain to rekindle family or community solidarities with the goal of maximum promotion of the autonomy of older persons.