Senator Kim Pate urges Senate to take action on implementing basic income

Roderick Benns

Senator Kim Pate is urging urged senators to take action on supporting the implementation of a basic income in Canada.

Nearly five decades ago, the senate issued an urgent call for a nation-wide guaranteed livable income.

The 1971 Croll Report was responding to unacceptable conditions of poverty. In the meantime, evidence has continued to mount in support of a guaranteed livable income as part of a plan to alleviate the crushing poverty experienced by millions of Canadians.

The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was initiated by Ontario in 2017 in three areas – Hamilton region, Thunder Bay area, and Lindsay. Nearly 2,000 people were on basic income in Lindsay. It was set to run for three years. When the PC government was elected in the summer of 2018, it cancelled the program despite a campaign promise to allow it to continue.

A class action lawsuit launched by four people from Lindsay who were once on the Ontario Basic Income Pilot is moving ahead with a late June, 2020 court date scheduled.

The Globe and Mail recently analyzed new information from Statistics Canada that shows the poverty rate was close to 25 per cent for single people in 2018, even though the poverty rate has declined for many families, thanks to the more generous Canada Child Benefit.

“Investing in a basic income commitment for all Canadians is not only affordable, but would reduce cost pressures in our healthcare, education and prison system by reducing the pathologies of poverty that haunt the social and economic infrastructure of Canada,” says former Senator Hugh Segal, a leading advocate of basic income in Canada.

In a press release, Pate notes that “with the fiftieth anniversary of the Croll Report approaching, we owe it to the millions of Canadians still waiting for equality to continue building on this vital work.”

“It is time to act to prevent human suffering before it happens, to give people a leg up and out of poverty, and to create more equal, vibrant, healthier and safer communities.”

--This story originally appeared on The Lindsay Advocate.