A newly released report co-authored by a professor at the University of Manitoba is calling on the federal government to guarantee a basic income for Canadians to help the economy recover from COVID-19.
The report recommends the government create a basic income guarantee of $17,000-$19,000, an amount just above the poverty line.
"We are talking about a targeted program," said Evelyn Forget, a community health sciences professor at U of M and coauthor of the report. "That means that somebody with no income would receive the full amount of the benefit. As their income increases, if they were working and earning some money, their benefit would be reduced by the amount they earned."Read more
The New Yorker
n 1795, a group of magistrates gathered in the English village of Speenhamland to try to solve a social crisis brought on by the rising price of grain.
The challenge was an increase in poverty, even among the employed. The social system at the time, which came to be known as Elizabethan Poor Law, divided indigent adults into three groups: those who could work, those who could not, and those—the “idle poor”—who seemed not to want to. The able and disabled received work or aid through local parishes.
The idle poor were forced into labor or rounded up and beaten for being bums. As grain prices increased, the parishes became overwhelmed with supplicants. Terrorizing idle people turned into a vast, unmanageable task.Read more
Christian Science Monitor
Jessie Golem knows the stigma of poverty. She’s been called a leech and parasite. She’s heard more times than she can count, “Go get a job.”
In fact, she always had multiple jobs. But piano lessons, gigs in dog walking, and a budding photography business – a 60-to-80-hour weekly hustle – left her just enough to pay her rent in Hamilton.
It wasn’t until she became part of a pilot program in Ontario, receiving a basic income supplement of $1,400 a month, that her working life finally came together. “It was really awesome watching my photography business grow,” she says. “I drew up a whole business plan and had a financial projection that I would only have needed to be on the basic income pilot for two of the three years.”Read more
A B.C. Green Party would move towards a basic income program, make the province carbon neutral by 2045, and spend more than $10 billion over the next three years on a host of environmental and social election promises.
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau made the promises as part of the party's platform, unveiled Wednesday afternoon, saying it would target people who need help now by building a stronger, more equitable and sustainable province.
"We cannot afford to go back to our old patchwork of social supports that were not meeting the needs of people," said Furstenau.Read more
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.Read more
By Evelyn Forget
A basic income—a regular, unconditional payment distributed by the government—is an old idea. Thomas More wrote about it during the Renaissance in Utopia, and Thomas Paine preached its merits when the United States was in its infancy. But the idea never gained mainstream acceptance.
Although social scientists had long been testing the effects of a basic income with pilot projects around the world, it was easy to imagine that the governments permitting these experiments hoped that public enthusiasm might die out by the time the results were compiled.
After the 2008 financial crisis, the International Labor Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Health Organization, and, especially, the World Bank showed some interest in a basic income. Never, however, did the idea make the leap from white papers to real-world policy.Read more
This is not the time for austerity,” said Julie Payette, the governor general of Canada, as she read the latest Canadian throne speech on 23 September. “Canadians should not have to take on debt that their government can better shoulder.”
As in the UK, Canada’s Westminster-style parliament opens new sessions with a speech outlining the government’s forthcoming legislative priorities. Attendance this year was strictly limited to a handful of high-ranking officials, with other governing elites watching online as Payette delivered a programme of spending promises designed to help the country withstand the Covid-19 pandemic.Read more