Christian Science Monitor
Jessie Golem knows the stigma of poverty. She’s been called a leech and parasite. She’s heard more times than she can count, “Go get a job.”
In fact, she always had multiple jobs. But piano lessons, gigs in dog walking, and a budding photography business – a 60-to-80-hour weekly hustle – left her just enough to pay her rent in Hamilton.
It wasn’t until she became part of a pilot program in Ontario, receiving a basic income supplement of $1,400 a month, that her working life finally came together. “It was really awesome watching my photography business grow,” she says. “I drew up a whole business plan and had a financial projection that I would only have needed to be on the basic income pilot for two of the three years.”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
This is not the time for austerity,” said Julie Payette, the governor general of Canada, as she read the latest Canadian throne speech on 23 September. “Canadians should not have to take on debt that their government can better shoulder.”
As in the UK, Canada’s Westminster-style parliament opens new sessions with a speech outlining the government’s forthcoming legislative priorities. Attendance this year was strictly limited to a handful of high-ranking officials, with other governing elites watching online as Payette delivered a programme of spending promises designed to help the country withstand the Covid-19 pandemic.Read more
The Energy Mix
Sheila Regehr has been chair of the Basic Income Canada Network since 2014. She’s a retired federal public servant with years of experience working on income security, and past executive director of the National Council of Welfare. With the federal Speech from the Throne coming up today, she explains how a basic income builds up communities, reduces anxiety, and makes a whole host of problems easier to solve—including the climate crisis.
The Energy Mix: What’s the basic argument for a basic income?
Regehr: That’s the most difficult question to start with because it’s so all-encompassing. The very basic idea is that everyone is part of society and the economy. Everyone should be able to participate and benefit from it. In our modern world that takes money. It’s a matter of human rights and dignity, and it’s a common good, the idea of sharing resources.Read more
In the Hammer
With holes in Canada’s social safety net being exposed as businesses closed in March to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the appetite for a system overhaul has intensified.
Now, what was once considered a radical solution to growing financial disparities, has taken centre stage—receiving support from not only social service organizations but business leaders, as well.Read more
Several years ago, researchers in Kenya decided to study the effects of a universal basic income (UBI) trial on people’s well-being.
Some 6,000 recipients in a 12-year trial beginning around 2017 received 75 cents a day — not much, but enough, their research found, for people to be less food-insecure and more likely to start a business. Others received payments for just two years (that ended in December 2019), and still others received a lump sum payment.
In early 2020, the coronavirus hit. In response, governments like Kenya’s imposed harsh lockdowns that sought to prevent the virus’s spread, but that also had devastating impacts on the economy.Read more
A group of some 40,000 universal basic income (UBI) supporters are launching a petition and a proposal to promote Canada’s economic recovery.
UBI Works is promoting the UBI for Economic Recovery, a national basic income plan to provide all Canadian adults with $500 non-taxable per month while establishing a guaranteed monthly minimum income of $2,000 for single adults and $3,000 for couples. The amount would decrease by $0.50 for every dollar of employment income and one dollar for every dollar of other family income.Read more
Out of a party leadership race that seemed perpetually overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for racial justice, Canada’s Conservatives elected as their leader a mild-mannered, former air force officer and lawyer.
Erin O’Toole, a cabinet minister in the Harper government, now has the tough job of convincing Canadians that he is markedly different than the two previous Conservative leaders. In his maiden speech as leader, O’Toole assured Canadians that he would lead a Conservative Party where anyone — regardless of race, sexual orientation or length of time in Canada — could feel welcome.
While that rhetoric is helpful when running for the leadership of a political party, over 95 percent of Canadians don’t join political parties and Conservatives would be better served to focus on delivering on Canadians’ priorities.
And with the potential of a fall election on the horizon, there has never been a better time for bold and courageous policies that would provide support to Canadians who are still struggling. These policies should be funded by raising taxes on those who have been unfairly avoiding it for decades.Read more
Ask youth what they would do with an extra $2,000 a month and the answers might surprise you.
Young people disproportionately struggle with mental health issues and undertake increasing student debts, all while facing a daunting post-pandemic-era job market at a time when many jobs are precarious, underpaid, or part of the gig economy.
In a recent webinar series held by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation’s Youth Policy-Makers Hub (OCIC’s YPH,) 92 per cent of respondents said they would support a guaranteed livable income (GLI) in Canada and most participants answered that $2,000 a month would give them better educational, health, and housing options.Read more
North Bay Nugget
Food insecurity has been identified as a public health issue in some parts of Northern Ontario for a few years now, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it worse.
The issue has prompted the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to ask the prime minister to support the idea of creating a universal basic income for all Canadian families — enough that they can afford to buy groceries.
Kendra Patrick, a public health dietitian with the health unit, says food insecurity refers to a household that does not have enough money to buy healthy food.