Quebec's new basic income plan has proponents dreaming big, others skeptical

CBC News

The Quebec government has taken a "positive first step" toward a universal basic income with its commitment to provide a set amount of money to those unable to work, says a proponent of the idea. 

"I think it's a move in the right direction," said Jonathan Brun, co-founder of Revenu de base Québec.

It also, Brun said, "puts the terminology square and centre within government policy."

The new measure is part of a larger $3-billion anti-poverty planannounced Sunday. An estimated 84,000 Quebecers would qualify for the minimum income, largely those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

By next year, they will see their government assistance increased by at least $73 per month. That figure will reach $440 per month by 2023, bringing their annual guaranteed minimum income to $18,029.

Ideally, Brun's group would have liked the Liberal government to have gone farther, switching many of its welfare programs to a negative income tax that would provide low-income earners with supplemental pay from the government.

He said the new measure, along with the Old Age Security pension provided by the federal government, means two of the most vulnerable segments of the population will receive a guaranteed income in Quebec.

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