Is now the time for a universal basic income in Canada?

The Guardian

Canada is a country with no shortage of government programs aimed at assisting individuals and families in need.

Decade after decade during the 20th century Canada built the architecture of a welfare state to eradicate social and political injustices.

Bits and pieces of policy at the federal and provincial level now make up a fortress of legislation to address the basic needs of individuals and groups.

For example, at the federal level in 1942 Unemployment Insurance would become Employment Insurance, followed by Family Allowance Act 1944, Old Age Security 1951, 1954 Disabled Persons Act, 1956 Hospital Insurance, Old Age Security Act, 1965, 1966, Canada Assistance Plan (grants to provinces), 1967 Guaranteed Income Supplement, 1979 Child Tax Credit.

Then there are all of the provincial programs that run collaterally with those of the national government.

The federal, provincial and municipal programs that regularly address the problem of need are almost too numerous to mention. All provinces offer a battery of programs that to some extent address individual need but together they do not resolve these matters on the ground level.

For example, Cape Breton has carried the burden of one/third of its population in poverty for decades. We are an island that cannot pull its own people out of poverty under the economic status quo.

The recent flood of federal emergency funding targeted at cushioning the deadly impact of the pandemic on the economy is providing yet another layer of supports to address essential needs for families and individuals.

The problem is no current government program operating alone really goes far enough to resolve the problem of basic need. Nor do these programs lower poverty levels among vulnerable groups. If people qualify for any of these programs, most recipients never quite get enough money to reconcile their minimum requirements in life.

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