A Canadian Basic Income Is Inevitable

In Canadian policy circles, basic income has come to mean a stipend paid to families or individuals without the many conditions and rules that govern existing income assistance programs. The amount received is gradually reduced as income from other sources increases.

However, basic income is not just about welfare reform. A basic income is most valuable to people in the middle class and those hoping to join them. Here's why a Canadian basic income is inevitable.

Consider Canadians who already benefit from some forms of basic income — families with children under 18, and people aged 65 and above. The poorest families with children benefit from the Canada Child Benefit, but many professional families receive at least partial benefits. The Guaranteed Income Supplement helps the poorest seniors, but Old Age Security provides at least some support to most of those with higher incomes.

The recently cancelled Ontario Basic Income experiment, which intended to provide adult benefits according to the same model, enrolled more working people than people receiving income assistance.

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