A Guaranteed Income? Alberta Shows the Need

The Tyee

As the number of Canadians finding themselves unable to make ends meet grows, the calls for a basic income are intensifying.

Currently, there are two bills, S-233 and C-223, whose passing could open the door to the creation of a livable basic income program for which any low-income Canadian can qualify. Like the Canada Child Benefit or Old Age Security, a livable basic income should be available to anyone whose earnings fall below the poverty line. No means testing. No questions asked. No shame nor stigma.

“It’s just basic justice that people have enough money to survive” and to ensure “that people aren’t living in poverty in a wealthy country,” says Evelyn Forget, a professor of economics and community health sciences at the University of Manitoba.

Instead, now, Canadians whose yearly gross income falls below the low-income cut-off — which ranges between $18,941 and $72,814 depending on location and household size — are consistently stripped of their agency, autonomy and dignity when they apply for income supports.

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