For 3rd time in 18 months, P.E.I. government asks Ottawa to fund basic income pilot

CBC News

P.E.I. Minister of Social Development and Housing Ernie Hudson is preparing another letter — his third in the past 18 months — asking the federal government to contribute funding for a basic income pilot program here.

This latest request comes on the heels of a report from the provincial legislature recommending the province ask Ottawa to contribute unspecified funding to support a $270-million-a-year program to provide a guaranteed annual income of $18,260 to more than 50,000 Islanders.

The report, authored by MLAs from all three parties that have members in the legislature, suggests the program could function as a national pilot.

But so far, Hudson's letters haven't prompted any written response from the ministerial level — just a note from a federal staffer following the second letter saying Hudson's message had been received.

"I regret the delay in replying," the staffer wrote in a letter dated Jan. 23, 2020 — two months after Hudson wrote to the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen, and seven months after he wrote to Hussen's predecessor Jean-Yves Duclos.  

"Please be assured that your request will be given due consideration."

Hudson is asking Ottawa to go beyond the meagre commitment it made following a similar request from the previous Liberal government of P.E.I. At that time, the Trudeau government offered to provide data and administrative support for a basic income pilot in the province, but not funding.

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