Dear basic income supporters:
We are at a critical juncture in Canada where emergency COVID-19 benefits can be wound down or reshaped into an ongoing basic income that enables everyone to be part of a better, new normal.
If you can do one thing in this moment in history, when government action is urgently needed, please write to your Member of Parliament and tell them you want them to actively work for a basic income.
We have created a downloadable template letter in both English and French to help facilitate this.
Some people see the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as a load of government debt that will burden future generations. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has said the benefit pays people not to work, weakening our economy. My personal story of receiving the CERB, and my faith, compel me to think differently.
I was laid off in March, so my activities since then don’t count by traditional economic measures like gross domestic product (GDP).
GDP basically measures how much money is being exchanged. It is often used as a primary indicator of economic and social well-being. The CERB has helped me explore how I can benefit society beyond paid work — endeavours that could be continued if a universal basic income program was implemented after the COVID-19 crisis.Read more
A basic income system would provide every individual in the country with a cash payment at regular intervals, without any requirement to work or qualify for it.
This payment would be given to every citizen regardless of their wealth, employment or personal status. A range of different figures have been suggested, but it would be enough to cover the basics of life and would serve as a replacement for all existing benefit payments.
There have long been debates about whether this would be a guaranteed safety net that would expand freedom of choice and cut bureaucracy in the welfare system, or a ruinously expensive incentive for people to do less work.
Up until now, in the UK at least, it has chiefly been chin-stroking fodder for think tank round-tables and discussion papers.Read more
The concept of universal basic income (UBI) is simple: provide a set amount of “basic income” for survival to every citizen regularly with no strings attached.
Supporters on the left believe that it will lift people out of poverty and increase the quality of life. On the right, supporters believe that UBI could reduce the burden on the state’s welfare system and maximize individual choices instead.
In recent years, UBI has attracted more considerable attention with increased concerns over growing economic inequality and the effect of automation upon the labor market.Read more
As our people and small businesses hold on for their lives and livelihoods, many are wondering what happened to the grand promise of unfettered capitalism. What happened to the promise of endless growth? Of the greatness of the free market?
The sheer inadequacy of the market to respond to this pandemic, the utter weakness of big business to pull us out of this mess is itself a master lesson in economics. It’s also an indictment of extreme capitalism.
It’s not the markets that are saving us now; it’s our governments, led by a prime minister and premiers and talented bureaucrats who have learned that they have the tools at their disposal to chart a course for the public good. And how silly we ever once thought that hundreds of corporations, all working in their own self-interest, could a country make.Read more
The Sarnia Observer
Sarnia’s mayor says the time has come for Canada to implement a guaranteed basic income.
The concept of a new and simplified income security program has gained traction during the pandemic, with the federal government’s Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, or CERB, coming close to a basic income measure.
Last week, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for both a municipal assistance program and a basic income plan.
A basic income top-up would eliminate the bureaucracy and provide stability for people living below the poverty line, he said.Read more
BICN, over the years, has encouraged a wide range of thought and work on basic income concepts, research, pilots and policy proposals. In our own modelling we developed three different progressive policy options and refrained from advocating just one.
The COVID-19 health and economic crisis has changed that. We must be more directive.
Our concern for human life and wellbeing has led us to the conclusion that the federal government must act decisively now and that the best available evidence in Canada at this moment argues for a basic income guarantee model for 18-64 year olds, consistent with programs for seniors and children that have demonstrated success.Read more