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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
Globe and Mail
Last month, at remarkable speed, national politicians from all parties set aside their usual partisan dynamics to introduce the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in response to the coronavirus-generated economic crisis. The federal government, Parliament and officials involved deserve great credit, and while the CERB currently does not provide benefits to all Canadians, the program is still evolving.
COVID-19 has forced federal and provincial governments to see the limitations of our current income-security framework. Employment insurance (EI) has been revealed as a creaky relic of a bygone economy.Read more
As every schoolchild knows, it was the First World War that brought Canadian women into the workplace (though of course, they had always been working). Even after the men returned from the front, women continued to work — and what was a temporary change turned into a new societal norm.
The Great War left us with another supposedly temporary measure: income tax. "I have placed no time limit upon this measure," said then finance minister Thomas White in 1917. "A year or two after the war is over, the measure should be reviewed."
We all know how that turned out.Read more
Globe and Mail
When Ottawa unveiled emergency payments of $2,000 to individuals who lost work because of the coronavirus, the program looked to be a stepped-up version of the decades-old Employment Insurance program.
But as the government has moved to fill gaps in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the nature of the program is quickly evolving into something that resembles a universal basic income.
A universal basic income, or UBI, would set a minimum income that all Canadians would be eligible to receive, whether they are working, unemployed or unemployable.Read more
Spain is moving to implement a permanent basic income as a measure to help workers and families battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Nadia Calviño, the country's minister for economic affairs, told the Spanish broadcaster La Sexta on Sunday evening that the government was planning to introduce the cash handouts as part of a barrage of policies meant to help people get back on their feet.
She said enacting basic income was "mostly aimed at families, but differentiating between their circumstances."Read more
Pope Francis suggested that it might be time for countries to consider a universal basic wage to help ameliorate the worldwide economic disruption to workers caused by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in an Easter letter to leaders of prominent social movements.
The Pope, who is known for his focus and powerful advocacy on behalf of the world's poorest and most marginalized people, devoted significant portions of both his Easter address at the Vatican and his letter to social movement leaders to highlighting the plight of the working class in this crisis.Read more
When the federal government unveiled its plan to provide Canadians whose employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with a monthly income of $2,000, members of P.E.I.'s Working Group for a Livable Income saw something that looked a lot like what they and others have been trying to bring to P.E.I. for years: a basic guaranteed income.
"It's very close to what we would be advocating for," said Jillian Kilfoil, executive director of Women's Network PEI, one of the members of the working group.Read more
Many of the financial measures being rolled out by governments to help people weather the COVID-19 storm would be unnecessary if Canada had a basic income policy, say basic income advocates.
“At this point, it would be so good if we could have it in the country,” said Sr. Pauline Lally of the Sisters of Providence in Kingston, Ont. “We really need this basic income. I really, really believe that…. It would be one way to end poverty in Canada.”
Lally is a supporter of the Ontario Basic Income Network and a member of Living Wage Kingston. She points to retired Senator Hugh Segal’s recent book, Bootstraps Need Boots: One Tory’s Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada, as a guide to how basic income would transform the country.Read more