Senator Yuen Pau Woo is advocating for an experimental basic income program at the provincial level, citing the complications to the employment insurance program after the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Woo, who spoke at a webinar about resetting the financial sector hosted by the University of Victoria, says that a basic income program could be a solution to income inequality stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.
While estimates of a basic income solution would require "a lot of money," the updated employment insurance system would be complicated for many Canadians due to a patchwork of social security measures, the independent senator says.
Despite the steep estimate from the Parliamentary Budget Officer on the cost of a basic income program, which Woo did not disclose, he said costs of a basic income program could be offset by reducing long-term costs related to health care and other safety net programs.
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