PART 1: Time to act for a basic income guarantee

The Chronicle-Herald

The P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income is excited to congratulate the legislative assembly of P.E.I. for endorsing the final report of the special committee on poverty on P.E.I., which recommends a basic income guarantee for P.E.I.

The report provides a fully costed, workable and achievable model for a basic income guarantee that could eliminate poverty in P.E.I. It was a groundbreaking day for P.E.I. and Canada when this important report was adopted, and the time to act on the report is now!

We write today to urge the P.E.I. government to begin immediately to negotiate with the federal government for the launch of a permanent basic income guarantee in P.E.I., as recommended in the report.

The Prince Edward Island Working Group for a Livable Income has been advocating since 2013 for P.E.I. to launch a provincewide program for a basic income guarantee: one that can be scaled up to include all of Canada.

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CERB controversy should spur basic income development

The Star - Sheila Regehr

The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit CERB put cash in people’s hands, quickly, when COVID-19 hit. It was a smart and remarkable achievement. It looked like the beginnings of a basic income — but it wasn’t quite. It left out people who needed it. It got complicated with conditions, changes, interactions with other emergency benefits, and with provincial and territorial regimes. It confused applicants and recipients as their circumstances changed.

Now, CERB repayment demands are causing hardship, and while amnesty is needed that’s only a temporary reprieve, for some. The pandemic’s viral and economic toll is still rising.

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CERB showed us that basic income could work in Canada

Evelyn Forget

Rabble

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists across Canada, millions of people have lost their jobs or had their work hours cut, exposing the economic insecurity with which Canadian families were already living.

Before the pandemic, half of Canadians were already struggling from paycheque to paycheque with little left over for savings, and household debt was at a record high. Few had enough set aside to pay the rent or put food on the table for even a short period of time. This situation wasn't caused by COVID-19; it reflects changes that have been ongoing for decades. More than a third of the workforce was working in precarious employment -- on contract, in temporary jobs, self-employed or working part-time when they would have preferred full-time work.

The economic shutdown that happened in March of this year revealed the inequality and economic insecurity people were already living with, and it has forced us to acknowledge the limitations of our existing social safety net. People displaced from their usual employment turned to employment insurance and learned that fewer than 40 per cent of them qualified for any support. Those who did qualify received payments too little even to pay the rent.

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2021 Will Be the Year of Guaranteed Income Experiments

Bloomberg

Giving people direct, recurring cash payments, no questions asked, is a simple idea — and an old one. Different formulations of a guaranteed income have been promoted by civil rights leaders, conservative thinkers, labor experts, Silicon Valley types, U.S. presidential candidates and even the Pope. Now, it’s U.S. cities that are putting the concept in action.

Fueled by a growing group of city leaders, philanthropists and nonprofit organizations, 2021 will see an explosion of guaranteed income pilot programs in U.S. cities. At least 11 direct-cash experiments will be in effect this year, from Pittsburgh to Compton. 

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How a Basic Income Plan Could Save Lives in a Pandemic

Welland Tribune

A basic income program could have saved lives and reduced COVID-19 transmission when the pandemic struck last spring, says one of the country’s leading experts.

And basic income, as both a health and a poverty reduction policy, could still help people weather the second wave and those to come, said Evelyn Forget.

“When government decided that it was a public health emergency response and they closed down the economy in March,” said Forget in an interview, “they knew immediately that the social programs wouldn’t work, and that we had to put emergency supports in place if we were going to keep people home.”

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Why Trudeau shouldn't give up on guaranteed basic income

Ottawa Citizen

At the beginning of December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he could see no path forward for a guaranteed basic income right now. For the sake of Canadians everywhere, he should spend some more time looking.

Many working Canadians are struggling in the current labour market. Globalization, rapid technological change and the gig economy have changed the nature of the labour market.

People no longer spend the majority of their career working for one company; many jobs limit the number of hours an employee can work to avoid providing them with benefits; and jobs in the gig economy (for example, Uber drivers, food delivery drivers, renting out your home via Airbnb, and selling services or products through the internet) carry no benefits at all. 

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Basic Income in Canada

The Runner

The debate over a basic income has come up most recently due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, leaving many wondering if the idea of establishing a basic income in Canada could be the answer to some widespread problems.

Basic income is defined as a minimum amount of money an individual can live on, and the idea of implementing it in Canada has been in the works for a long time.

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