What a difference a year makes.
Last March, Ontario’s basic income pilot project was cancelled, leaving about 4,000 Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay residents scrambling to recoup a monthly financial stipend they said had transformed their lives.
Under the program, individuals would receive about $13,000 per year, while couples got about $19,000 regardless of employment status. Individuals receiving the financial help said knowing they would have a sustainable and secure source of money immediately bolstered their health, improved their self-esteem and allowed them to look for a job or establish a path to carve out a career.Read more
The next time the world is blindsided by a global emergency, the economy will better survive it if everyone is paid what they need to survive it -- before it hits, experts say.
And if employers don't cough up the cash, they say, governments should.
"It is now quite clear that virtually everybody in society has a profound interest in lower-income people having the purchasing power to buy food and pay their rent," said political scientist Ron Hikel.Read more
Many Canadians have lost jobs but have been saved from financial ruin during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, some are hoping the government keeps that type of social assistance around.Read more
The Castlegar Source
COVID-19 has obviously changed our lives in the short term, and now there is a growing consensus that the pandemic will also bring more long-lasting changes to our society—how we value workers, how we treat our seniors, how we house the homeless, how we protect the environment, and more.
One topic that is surfacing more and more often is the idea of a basic income. One of the first things we learned when the pandemic began was that Employment Insurance was completely inadequate to protect workers from lost income. Sixty percent of workers do not even qualify for EI.Read more
The Great Depression of the 1930s gave us the Bank of Canada, Employment Insurance (EI) and federal equalization payments. The Great Recession of 2008 produced a revolution in monetary policy and a legacy of concern about household debt.
Will the Great Lockdown of 2020 bequeath us guaranteed universal income? Among the many unprecedented aspects of the global coronavirus pandemic is the sudden appearance of a widely available handout from Ottawa. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500 per week to anyone who’s out of work because of the virus, or the economic shutdown it precipitated.Read more
In a letter to the government, MPs from seven opposition parties have asked for the payments to help support those hit hardest by the crisis.
The letter warns furloughed staff will lose their jobs when the current scheme ends, and a universal basic income would ensure economic security for everyone.
It says: “The hard truth is when this lock-down ends, there may be another one in waiting.Read more
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