Why a Canadian Basic Income Is Simply Inevitable

Good Men Project

In Canadian policy circles, Basic Income has come to mean a stipend paid to families or individuals without the many conditions and rules that govern existing income assistance programs. The amount received is gradually reduced as income from other sources increases.

However, Basic Income is not just about welfare reform. A Basic Income is most valuable to people in the middle class and those hoping to join them. Here’s why a Canadian Basic Income is inevitable.

Consider Canadians who already benefit from some forms of Basic Income — families with children under eighteen, and people aged 65 and above. The poorest families with children benefit from the Canada Child Benefit, but many professional families receive at least partial benefits. The Guaranteed Income Supplement helps the poorest seniors, but Old Age Security provides at least some support to most of those with higher incomes.

The recently cancelled Ontario Basic Income experiment, which intended to provide adult benefits according to the same model, enrolled more working people than people receiving income assistance.

The need for income security among middle-class Canadians is accelerating as the labour market changes. Silicon Valley hyperbole imagines robots replacing human labour, and that has happened for many factory jobs, but a much more immediate outcome is that automation will change the way work is done.

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