The simple way to lift Canadians out of poverty

By Brynna Leslie

Ottawa Community News

The City of Ottawa has tabled a number of measures in its budget to assist low-income residents. Among them, a half-price monthly transit pass is set to take effect in April 2017. The city has also committed to funds for organizations that offer social assistance.

But what if lifting Canadians out of poverty is more simple than the patchwork solutions frequently offered by municipal and provincial governments?

For nearly 40 years, a small, but politically and intellectually diverse group have been arguing for the implementation of a guaranteed annual income (GAI) to replace existing welfare and other assistance programs. Studies on GAI have proven to have positive financial impacts on health care, education and overall well being.

Many would argue that giving out so-called free money is a utopian ideal that would increase the tax burden on those who already bear the brunt of collective tax revenue. In fact, the opposite may be true.

Former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal is among those proponents of providing Canadians a GAI or basic minimum income. He argues that poverty costs all of us enormously.

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