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.

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A Federal Basic Income Within the Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan

Hugh Segal, Evelyn Forget, Keith Banting

From the Abstract

COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on the extent of poverty in Canada.

The arrival of the pandemic in Canada affected the health of the population and made unprecedented demands on the healthcare system across Canada.

The greatest impact fell on expressly vulnerable populations in long term healthcare facilities, amongst migrant guest worker clusters and in areas of more intense concentrations of large urban populations.

That these Canadians were living in lowincome, high-density areas of larger communities where space and self isolation were more difficult, contributed to their enhanced infection rate. Their diminished health prospects affect
their families, neighbourhoods, and resistance to any infection, let alone an infection as potentially life threatening as the COVID-19 Coronovirus.

 

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People with disabilities deserve a basic income

Globe and Mail

Evelyn Forget is author of Basic Income for Canadians: From the COVID-19 Emergency to Financial Security for All. Sheila Regehr is chair of the Basic Income Canada Network.

Last month’s Throne Speech committed to the creation of a new Canadian Disability Benefit for persons with disabilities – that’s good news. The details remain vague, but some disability advocates have long championed a basic income for people with disabilities. The new Disability Benefit may offer a step toward that reality.

Basic income is a guarantee that no Canadian will have to live on an income far below the poverty line. It is not a replacement for necessary public services, but rather a federal government cash transfer made directly to individuals that would replace provincial income assistance and supplement the incomes of the working poor.

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U of M researcher calls for basic income in the wake of the pandemic

CTV News

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."

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Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income?

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.

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Has guaranteed basic income’s time arrived? Canada may find out.

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.”

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B.C. Greens release platform highlighting basic income and clean economic recovery

CBC News

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.

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