Will this pandemic's legacy be a universal basic income?

Maclean's

Opinion

The Great Depression of the 1930s gave us the Bank of Canada, Employment Insurance (EI) and federal equalization payments. The Great Recession of 2008 produced a revolution in monetary policy and a legacy of concern about household debt.

Will the Great Lockdown of 2020 bequeath us guaranteed universal income? Among the many unprecedented aspects of the global coronavirus pandemic is the sudden appearance of a widely available handout from Ottawa. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500 per week to anyone who’s out of work because of the virus, or the economic shutdown it precipitated.

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Health professionals across Canada have banded together calling on Justin Trudeau and Cabinet to implement a basic income.

Health professionals across Canada have joined the Basic Income Canada Youth Network and the Canadian Council of Young Feminists by calling on Justin Trudeau and Cabinet to implement a basic income.

 

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Letter to the PM and Cabinet from the Basic Income Canada Youth Network and the Canadian Council of Young Feminists

The Basic Income Canada Youth Network and the Canadian Council of Young Feminists today sent a letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, advocating strongly for a universal basic income:

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More than 100 UK MPs demand universal basic income after lockdown

The Sun

In a letter to the government, MPs from seven opposition parties have asked for the payments to help support those hit hardest by the crisis.

Published as a letter in the Financial Times, it calls for a “recovery universal basic income” after concerns that the furlough scheme cannot last.

The letter warns furloughed staff will lose their jobs when the current scheme ends, and a universal basic income would ensure economic security for everyone.

It says: “The hard truth is when this lock-down ends, there may be another one in waiting.

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CERB proves it’s time for basic income, says economist

University of Manitoba News

A UM economist says that government assistance for people whose livelihood has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic shows that it may be time for universal basic income.

Dr. Evelyn Forget, who has long studied basic income as a means of reducing poverty, says that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), introduced by the Canadian government last month, proves that existing income security programs such as Employment Insurance (EI) are inadequate.

Dr. Forget is in community health sciences at UM and academic director of the Manitoba Research Data Centre. She is an adjunct scientist with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and a research associate with Ongomiizwin – Research in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

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Coronavirus pandemic raises question: Is it time for a basic income?

Global News

Economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus has led some to ask whether it’s time for a basic income.

In Canada alone, more than a million people have lost their jobs since March, with millions applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which gives $2,000 every month for up to four months to those who’ve lost income due to COVID-19

As the pandemic’s cost to society became clear last month, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for “immediate direct help” in the form of a universal basic income.

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The case for a universal basic income is stronger than ever

Prospect Magazine

One side effect of the Covid-19 crisis has been a remarkable upsurge in interest in the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). In the UK, over 170 MPs and Lords across parties have called for an “Emergency UBI,” while 84 per cent of the public now back its introduction. Spain, especially heavily hit by the epidemic, is now looking seriously at the introduction of such a scheme.

A UBI is a guaranteed, unconditional payment made to all eligible residents. A key reason for this jump in interest is the potential of such a system to mitigate, at speed, the economic fallout of the epidemic on incomes and livelihoods.

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