A universal basic income could help counter COVID-19's economic damage

CBC News

"Be fast and have no regrets."

That was the defining quote from the March 13 COVID-19 briefing at the World Health Organization, spoken by Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization (WHO) executive director of health emergencies. "Speed trumps perfection," he added. "The greatest error is not to move."

It's a piece of advice that is worthy of consideration not just in the health policies Canada is putting forward to combat the effects of coronavirus, but in economic policy as well.

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Top statistician says P.E.I. closer to basic income ‘than we might otherwise think’

Journal-Pioneer

A top economist with the Department of Finance believes P.E.I.’s current social safety net already has many similarities to a basic income guarantee. 

Nigel Burns, director of economic statistics and federal fiscal relations with the department, spoke before the standing committee on poverty in Charlottetown last week.

Burns addressed the concept of a negative income tax, a form of basic income guarantee that would give a government payment to all individuals who earn below a certain amount, regardless of whether they work or not. Individuals who earn above this amount would pay income taxes.

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Canada's cancelled basic income trial produces positive results

New Atlas

A new report, from researchers at McMaster University and Ryerson University, has surveyed over 200 participants from a prematurely cancelled basic income experiment that took place in Southern Ontario between 2017 and 2019.

The report suggests participants saw improvements in mental health, housing stability and social relationships, along with less frequent visits to hospitals and doctors that lowered the impact on general health services.

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Coronavirus sparks support for Universal Basic Income in unlikely places

Quartz

As pandemic panic mounts worldwide and more people globally are being told to stay home, one conservative American politician is taking a decidedly progressive position, proposing interim Universal Basic Income.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah today said that every American should get a $1,000 check to cover costs and keep the economy running, in addition to a slew of other measures to mitigate the pandemic’s fiscal fallout.

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Ontario Government Defends Nixing Basic Income After Study Shows Trial's Benefits

Huffington Post

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government says it has no regrets about cancelling a basic income pilot project even though a recent study found it vastly improved people’s health and helped many find better jobs. 

“One of the first campaign promises your government broke was to complete the basic income pilot,” Green party Leader Mike Schreiner told Premier Doug Ford in the legislature Thursday. 

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Nunavut MLA presses government on idea of guaranteed basic income

Nunatsiaq News

Echoing the recommendations of a 2013 report that suggests Nunavut should implement a basic income program, one Nunavut MLA is pressing the government to follow through on that idea.

In a written question tabled last fall, Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main asked Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik to explain how the department has considered the concept of guaranteed basic income in Nunavut as part of its reform of the territory’s income assistance program.

Guaranteed basic income is a program that involves regular payments from the government to citizens that ensures a minimum income, regardless of employment status.

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Did free cash drive people to quit work? Not according to a new basic income study

The Star

Three-quarters of people who were employed before joining Ontario’s ill-fated basic income pilot project continued to work while receiving the no-strings-attached monthly stipend, according to a new study.

And more than one-third of those low-wage workers were able to move to higher paying and more secure jobs, according to the study by McMaster University researchers being released Wednesday.

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