Nunavut MLA presses government on idea of guaranteed basic income

Nunatsiaq News

Echoing the recommendations of a 2013 report that suggests Nunavut should implement a basic income program, one Nunavut MLA is pressing the government to follow through on that idea.

In a written question tabled last fall, Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main asked Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik to explain how the department has considered the concept of guaranteed basic income in Nunavut as part of its reform of the territory’s income assistance program.

Guaranteed basic income is a program that involves regular payments from the government to citizens that ensures a minimum income, regardless of employment status.

In 2013, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy was commissioned to examine Nunavut’s safety net.

“The shift from Income Assistance to a Basic Income was a long-term reform suggested in the Caledon Report,” Sheutiapik’s said in her written response to Main.

But the department isn’t there yet.

“The comprehensive analysis required to explore the feasibility of such a program in Nunavut has not yet taken place, primarily because the department has been focused on implementing reforms stemming from the 2015 community consultations,” her reply states.

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