How giving Canadians a basic income can improve health and reduce costs

Global News

One of the pillars of the federal government’s coronavirus response — the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB — is leading to calls for a permanent basic income support program in Canada.

Jessie Golem, a Hamilton, Ont., resident, is among those championing such an initiative. Golem was part of a pilot project in Ontario three years ago that provided income support to 4,000 low-income earners in several communities across the province. The pilot was only in place for a little over a year before it was abruptly cancelled by the government of Premier Doug Ford.

Golem told Global News’ The New Reality about having to work 60 to 80 hours a week prior to receiving the provincial government basic income.

“I felt very stuck and kind of trapped in this situation, where I just sort of had to keep on working in order to survive in the hopes that in the future it would get better,” she says.

She said the basic income pilot allowed her to stop working at multiple dead-end jobs, and to start her own business instead. “I was actually finding that I was making more money than I was before, when I was cobbling together those jobs, and stressed and depressed.”
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