Basic income hailed as key in kickstarting the economy in a post-pandemic Canada

The Star

A universal basic income would not only lift more than 3.2 million Canadians out of poverty, it would also create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, grow the economy by tens of billions of dollars and eventually pay for itself with increased tax revenues.

That’s according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), which was commissioned by basic income advocacy group UBI Works to look at the potential economic impacts of Canada implementing two different kinds of basic income programs.

“I think the biggest message coming out of this (report) is that a basic income program can be designed in a sustainable way,” said Paul Smetanin, CANCEA president and one of the report’s authors. “It can be thought of as an investment as opposed to a cost.”

A basic income program can take many different forms, but it is essentially an unconditional cash transfer from the government to individuals. It would, theoretically, replace other social assistance payments, such as employment insurance and welfare, that critics say are insufficient and administratively onerous.

Interest in basic income programs has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the unprecedented economic shock and the popularity of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which for roughly six months paid $500 per week to 8.9 million Canadians who had lost work due to the pandemic.

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