Liberals invite basic income expert to speak at pre-budget hearings

By Bill Curry

Globe and Mail

Federal Liberals invited a leading expert on guaranteed annual income to make the case at pre-budget hearings for a major overhaul of Canada’s social safety net.

The invitation is further evidence that Liberals are exploring an idea that has been debated for decades but is now gaining momentum in Canada and abroad.

University of Manitoba health economist Evelyn Forget told the House of Commons finance committee on Thursday that evidence clearly shows the merit of replacing many existing social assistance programs with a guaranteed income of about $18,000 for every Canadian.

Additional income would be clawed back at a rate of 50 per cent until the benefit is fully repaid. The goal is to eliminate extreme poverty while keeping a financial incentive to work.

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