Reasons to be Cheerful
Twice a year, in North Carolina, Eastern Cherokee families receive a check in the mail for their share of the profits from the casinos owned by their tribe. The first of these casinos opened in 1995, and since then, researchers have been able to study the effects of the cash infusions on the families, many of whom were previously poor, and compare them to neighboring families who didn’t receive the cash. From an academic and scientific point of view the researchers lucked upon both an experimental group and a control group.
What they’ve found is amazing: The children of the families receiving cash have fewer drug and alcohol problems, fewer mental health issues, fewer arrests and are 15 percent more likely to finish school. Non-Cherokee families living nearby, who don’t receive any cash, are the convenient control group — their environment and situation is pretty much the same, and sure enough, their kids have not experienced similar improvements in outcomes.Read more
Green Party leader Annamie Paul is calling on the federal government to launch discussions on creating a national guaranteed livable income.
“A guaranteed livable income is almost inevitably going to have to be part of the solution if we’re going to ensure that everyone has a social safety net beneath them,” Paul said at a roundtable discussion Monday with Independent Sen. Kim Pate and co-founder of Revenu de base Québec Jonathan Brun.
Paul says the pandemic has shed light on the high number of people who would have been struggling to make ends meet — had it not been for emergency benefits.Read more
Canada’s K-shaped recovery is deepening the lines between rich and poor. Here’s how we can shift our economy toward a fair outcome for all
As a famous group of puppets on Sesame Street would say, “Today’s letter of the day is ‘K.’ ”
But what if a “k” is not what we want?
This is the situation the Canadian economy finds itself in: current economic data shows that the pre-pandemic well-off are benefiting while the pre-pandemic marginalized are suffering considerably.
For example, white-collar workers are benefiting from work-from-home’s favourable commute times, low interest rates to upsize their living space, and soaring financial assets in their portfolios.Read more
A B.C. Green Party would move towards a basic income program, make the province carbon neutral by 2045, and spend more than $10 billion over the next three years on a host of environmental and social election promises.
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau made the promises as part of the party's platform, unveiled Wednesday afternoon, saying it would target people who need help now by building a stronger, more equitable and sustainable province.
"We cannot afford to go back to our old patchwork of social supports that were not meeting the needs of people," said Furstenau.Read more
Among the enormous burdens of fending off the coronavirus pandemic, many countries closed whole sectors of the economy while boosting emergency spending to keep citizens afloat. Now in Canada, momentum is building for another extraordinary measure: a basic income guarantee.
Simply put, it's when residents receive cash from the government, without conditions, to ensure they meet their basic needs.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has delivered pandemic emergency benefits to millions of unemployed workers since late March and students since May that together totaled more than $60 billion.Read more
By Evelyn Forget
A basic income—a regular, unconditional payment distributed by the government—is an old idea. Thomas More wrote about it during the Renaissance in Utopia, and Thomas Paine preached its merits when the United States was in its infancy. But the idea never gained mainstream acceptance.
Although social scientists had long been testing the effects of a basic income with pilot projects around the world, it was easy to imagine that the governments permitting these experiments hoped that public enthusiasm might die out by the time the results were compiled.
After the 2008 financial crisis, the International Labor Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Health Organization, and, especially, the World Bank showed some interest in a basic income. Never, however, did the idea make the leap from white papers to real-world policy.Read more
By Sheila Regehr
The Speech from the Throne began with the message that ‘this is not the time for austerity’ and talked about ‘fighting for every Canadian’. The content is far more status quo than bold or transformative, however, and doesn’t match the rhetoric. Canadians from all sectors and walks of life are calling for a basic income to give everyone a fighting chance but it was glaringly absent.
People who have already been living austerely, those who were most vulnerable in the first wave of the pandemic are even more anxious now. Our leaders seem out of touch with this ‘unprecedented’ reality and out of time with a resurgent deadly virus hitting us as Canadian winter is approaching.
Austerity is the fate of people who may lose CERB and other benefits, or didn’t qualify in the first place. They are losing housing, health, the ability to buy food, and hope. These people, as always, are predominantly female, Black, Indigenous and other people of colour, people with disabilities and single people with no one to fall back on. Some of them used to be middle-class and our income security systems failed them. Others have known disadvantage throughout their lives. These are people who can’t protect themselves from COVID-19’s impact the way others can. That is a public health, human rights and economic disaster.Read more
3,600+ Individuals and Organizations Call for Basic Income Now
At the launch of International Basic Income Week, over 3,600 organizations and individuals from across the country – including the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and Women’s College Hospital, have signed on to a national Statement on Basic Income: A Case for Women.
Quoting Senator Kim Pate, one of four sitting Senators who endorsed the statement, “For women in Canada, a guaranteed livable income would mean choice: being able to leave a situation of abuse without becoming homeless; being able to take time to search for suitable work or further education or pursue a new business or care for loved ones or contribute to the community, in ways that enrich all of us.”
Developed by a steering group of leaders from women’s and feminist organizations across the country, the statement is directed to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Ministers Monsef, Qualtrough, Duclos, and Tassi, and calls for the implementation of a national basic income. The pandemic has clearly exposed women’s vulnerability in times of health and economic crisis, particularly those whose experiences of inequality are also shaped by other systems of oppression.
Canada’s Labour Minister Filomena Tassi says the federal government is considering establishing a universal basic income as a way to help people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ends in September and merges with a revamped employment insurance benefit program, anti-poverty activists have called on the Liberals to establish a basic income program after seeing how effective it can be for citizens who have lost their jobs.
“This is a progressive policy,” said Tassi, Liberal MP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. “Everything is on the table for us as we move forward. We are taking a look at the impact COVID has had on Canadians and really working on how to come up with solutions to getting Canadians working and providing them with the supports they need during this very challenging time.”Read more
A Winnipeg MP is looking to convert the Canada Emergency Response Benefit into a permanent fixture.
“COVID-19 has demonstrated that we do have the resources. We must ensure all individuals in Canada can thrive in dignity and that means making investments to ensure basic human rights for all,” she said.Read more