The time has never been better for universal basic income

Alberni Valley News

The provincial election is over and it is now time to look ahead to how this strong NDP majority can truly do the most good for all British Columbians no matter their station or political persuasion.

How do they, and all levels of government, deal with the pandemic, housing, opioid and climate crisis, and a contorted and weak economy and labour market?

We need to pull together. We need a Guaranteed Liveable Universal Basic Income. 

Read more

Canadian Chamber of Commerce urges federal government to pick up Ontario’s cancelled pilot project

The Star

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to create its own basic income pilot project to replace the one that was prematurely cancelled by Doug Ford’s provincial government in 2018.

The national chamber adopted the resolution, which was put forward by the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce, at its annual general meeting this week.

It calls on the federal government to create a basic income pilot project and “assess the potential costs, benefits, pitfalls, challenges and outcomes of a nationwide basic income social assistance program.”

Read more

Canada’s K-shaped recovery is deepening the lines between rich and poor. Here’s how we can shift our economy toward a fair outcome for all

The Star

As a famous group of puppets on Sesame Street would say, “Today’s letter of the day is ‘K.’ ”

But what if a “k” is not what we want?

This is the situation the Canadian economy finds itself in: current economic data shows that the pre-pandemic well-off are benefiting while the pre-pandemic marginalized are suffering considerably.

For example, white-collar workers are benefiting from work-from-home’s favourable commute times, low interest rates to upsize their living space, and soaring financial assets in their portfolios.

Read more

One-Time Stimulus Checks Aren’t Good Enough. We Need Universal Basic Income.

We set up a tent in the woods,” Bonnie said. “My husband will get money for us to eat.” We sat outside, sharing coffee and I asked how they became homeless. She begged at the off-ramp, held a cardboard sign and occasionally plucked a dollar dangled from a car window.

In New York City, the poor increasingly camp on sidewalks or in parks. In the nation at large, millions are at risk of eviction. The CARES Act, the first stimulus package during the pandemic, prevented masses of people from losing their homes and falling into poverty. It was emergency stopgap legislation whose effects have worn off. Another stimulus bill will not be enough.

We need Universal Basic Income (UBI), which is the cash transfer from the government to all or nearly all of its citizens. It is unconditional. It is consistent. In the middle of a global financial meltdown, it can stop poverty from destroying another generation and maybe repair the damage of the past.

Read more

Why the mayor of Compton is launching a guaranteed basic income pilot

CBC News

Mayor Aja Brown is bringing a guaranteed income program to Compton, Calif.

She announced earlier this week that the Compton Pledge ensures a basic income to 800 of the city's residents over the next two years, focusing on those who have the most difficulty making ends meet.

The mayor says this program can help her city address inequality and provide a sense of relief for single-parent households, people working multiple jobs, undocumented immigrants, formerly incarcerated residents and more. 

Private donors have funded Compton's guaranteed income program, which is set to provide residents with $300 to $600 U.S. dollars monthly starting later this year. The pilot is based on a smaller study in Stockton, Calif., five hours north of Compton, that took place last year.

Read more

N.L. takes first step toward basic income as NDP motion passes in legislature

CBC News

It sounds like fiction, at first blush: hundreds of dollars appearing in your bank account every month, for no reason other than being alive.

However, Newfoundland and Labrador is taking the first step toward making a guaranteed basic income a reality.

"A Tory senator wrote a book on why we should do this as a country," Labrador West MHA Jordan Brown said on the assembly floor last Wednesday, in reference to basic income advocate Hugh Segal.

"This crosses party lines, corporate lines … this is something that's been talked about since the Seventies."

Brown tabled the private member's motion calling for the province to examine what a basic income might look like here, including who would receive it and how much.

Read more

New Book: Basic Income for Canadians

A new book is out by Evelyn Forget called Basic Income for Canadians: From the COVID-19 Emergency to Financial Security for All.

An update to her 2018 book in the wake of the worldwide pandemic, this book is an eminently readable manifesto that will undoubtedly help move the needle from discussing basic income to its eventual adoption.

From the publisher’s site:

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of providing a basic income to everyone in Canada who needs it was already gaining broad support. Then, in response to a crisis that threatened to put millions out of work, the federal government implemented new measures which constituted Canada?s largest ever experiment with a basic income for almost everyone.

In this new and revised edition, Evelyn L. Forget offers a clear-eyed look at how these emergency measures could be transformed into a program that ensures an adequate basic income for every Canadian.

Forget details what we can learn from earlier basic income experiments in Canada and internationally. She weighs the options, investigates whether Canadians can afford a permanent basic income program and describes how it could best be implemented across the country.

Read more