In Pandemic Downturn, Canada's Drive For Guaranteed Basic Income Picks Up Speed

NPR.org

Among the enormous burdens of fending off the coronavirus pandemic, many countries closed whole sectors of the economy while boosting emergency spending to keep citizens afloat. Now in Canada, momentum is building for another extraordinary measure: a basic income guarantee.

Simply put, it's when residents receive cash from the government, without conditions, to ensure they meet their basic needs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has delivered pandemic emergency benefits to millions of unemployed workers since late March and students since May that together totaled more than $60 billion.

Kayte Barkshire, 28, is a beneficiary. When she moved back to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Scotland earlier this year, the pandemic hit before she could find a job in her fields of caregiving and hospitality.

She was soon able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to receive 2,000 Canadian dollars ($1,523) per month.