Sheila Regehr Roosevelt House
In the matter of where things stand on basic income in Canada, I find that a great deal depends on how it is named and framed. By clearing away some confusion, I think there is good reason to be optimistic about the success of the movement towards a basic income for everyone in this country.
While all the global factors that are driving renewed interest in basic income play out in Canada, from concerns about technological unemployment to democratic deficits and environmental crises, there are important practical debates specific to our country. Two key debates revolve around whether basic income threatens other social infrastructure like public services, and whether a basic income is too radical or bold an idea for a country that tends towards ‘relentless incrementalism’ (setting aside that when we have gone bold, as with medicare, we have had iconic success).Read more
By Roderick Benns
The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) has recently made its submission to the House of Commons Finance Committee pre-budget consultations, urging creation of a basic income that would be universally available to Canadians in times of need.
BICN Chair Sheila Regehr writes in her executive summary that this is “an important time to build on basic income initiatives underway in Quebec and Ontario” and on recent federal initiatives to strengthen other forms of basic income. This includes the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors and the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) aimed at families with children, both of which have proven effective in reducing poverty. (Retired Senator Hugh Segal is providing advice on design and implementation of a demonstration pilot in Ontario, and Quebec is currently looking into a form of basic income.)Read more