Basic Income in Canada

The Runner

The debate over a basic income has come up most recently due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, leaving many wondering if the idea of establishing a basic income in Canada could be the answer to some widespread problems.

Basic income is defined as a minimum amount of money an individual can live on, and the idea of implementing it in Canada has been in the works for a long time.

It’s different from social income programs because it would be available to everyone and, theoretically, increase financial stability for those who need it. However, the idea has been criticized for its overall upfront costs, the potential cuts to other programs currently in place, and the lack of incentives for the public to work for financial compensation.

“Looking at this from a food and security context, and from the right to food perspective, certainly people need adequate incomes, and need adequate incomes to pay their rent, their tuition fees, pay for their food,” says Dr. Graham Riches, professor emeritus at the UBC School of Social Work.

“My particular argument about this is that food is a basic human need,” he says. “It’s not a problem of a lack of food, it’s a problem with a lack of income.”

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