U of M researcher calls for basic income in the wake of the pandemic

CTV News

A newly released report co-authored by a professor at the University of Manitoba is calling on the federal government to guarantee a basic income for Canadians to help the economy recover from COVID-19.

The report recommends the government create a basic income guarantee of $17,000-$19,000, an amount just above the poverty line.

"We are talking about a targeted program," said Evelyn Forget, a community health sciences professor at U of M and coauthor of the report. "That means that somebody with no income would receive the full amount of the benefit. As their income increases, if they were working and earning some money, their benefit would be reduced by the amount they earned."

The basic income guarantee would replace provincial income assistance, which in Manitoba, is called EIA.

"It also supplements low-income owners," said Forget, "Someone making minimum wage, for example, or someone working part-time would be making less than the poverty line and basic income would allow that person to live above the poverty line."

The report said the benefit should be flexible so it can respond to changing needs.

A MORE EFFICIENT WAY TO DEAL WITH POVERTY

Forget said Canadians are already paying for poverty in indirect ways like healthcare, justice and special education.

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