A basic income would be a great first move toward recognizing social inequities

By Roderick Benns, Waterloo Region Record

Social justice thinker R.W. Connell once said: "Statistically speaking, the best advice I would give to a poor child eager to get ahead in education is to choose richer parents."

Connell's advice goes beyond education, though. Income connects not only to education outcomes, but to our very health and wellness. That's why it was heartening to hear federal Health Minister Jane Philpott speak recently of "social inequity" as the greatest barrier to improving health for Canadians. In her recent remarks to the Canadian Medical Association, Philpott cited "social factors" as a key issue that needs to be addressed to improve health.

This is the primary reason we must move forward with a basic income guarantee for Canadians.

A basic income would be something that is universally available to all in times of need — no different than health care. We already have forms of basic income in place. This includes the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) intended for families with children. Both of these programs have proven effective in reducing poverty.

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