By Laura Anderson and Danielle Martin
The so-called basic income guarantee is having a moment.
Hot on the heels of Quebec’s plan to explore the policy, it was announced that Ontario’s provincial budget included funds for a basic income pilot project. And on that very day, Senator Art Eggleton tabled a motion calling on the Senate of Canada to encourage the federal government to do the same.
The basic income guarantee (BIG) is a strategy for poverty reduction that is simpler and more effective than our existing social assistance systems. Quite simply, individuals whose incomes fall below a certain threshold get topped up to a level that would meet basic needs. This streamlined approach would replace existing social assistance programs, and would provide much-needed income security for the increasing numbers of Canadians in precarious and part-time work. If designed correctly, it should also eliminate some of the perverse incentives of the “welfare wall” that institutionalize poverty in Canada.
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