Advocates push for basic income program in N.W.T., but territorial gov’t says it has other plans

CBC News

The need for a basic income program in the N.W.T. is now, advocates say.

Alternatives North, a social justice coalition, released a report Wednesday with six recommendations for a basic income guarantee program in the territory. The 87-page report calls for, among other things, increased public awareness, investment from the federal government, and concrete steps from the territorial government to implement or pilot a program.

A basic income guarantee program ensures a minimum income level for everybody, regardless of their employment status.

Sheila Regehr, chairperson with the Basic Income Canada Network, was on hand Wednesday when the Alternatives North report was presented. She said the “time is right” for a basic income program to help address some of the other challenges facing northern communities.

“The mental health and addictions, the food insecurity — those things aren’t going to go away, and the Band-aids are going to keep falling off,” Regehr said.

N.W.T. ‘great place’ for pilot program 

Alternatives North did not put an estimated price tag on a basic income guarantee program in the N.W.T. The report states that any such program would need to factor in the higher cost of living in the North and the wide variation in living costs among the 33 communities in the territory. 

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