Basic income: It’s time has come says Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet

Honourable MP:

The 2021 Election has been held and Parliament reconvenes soon.  Priorities must be set by the Cabinet for Canada to advance the well-being of all citizens, working through a just transition.  We, at GASP (Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet –, still support the proposal, by 50 members of the Senate, to the Government of Canada, in favour of a Guaranteed Livable Income (the VB604 Perspective) which states: “We see a guaranteed livable income (GLI) – also known as a basic income guarantee – as one component of a robust, responsive and comprehensive economic, health and social wellness system, inclusive of universally accessible housing, child care, education, pharma, dental and mental health strategies. 

These measures must work together to reflect and promote the principles of public administration and accountability; universal accessibility; comprehensiveness with respect to meeting basic needs; and portability during short-term absences from one’s home province or territory.” We support it because it is: 

1. A way to help solve the problems of poverty and lack of economic social equality by putting money in the hands of those who need it.

2. A way to allow recipients to engage in the community by giving them some choice, power, self-confidence, and the ability to make plans (being food and shelter secure).

3. Universally accessible and could be made to be dignified and user friendly, because it will be administered through Canada’s Tax System

4. Income tested not means tested, removing the stigma and criminalization common in our present unfair system which leaves many people well below the poverty line even while receiving social assistance.

5. Similar to the already successful OAS, GIS, and Child Benefit programs

6. Timely – the pitfalls of our present system are being understood by many and the majority of Canadians, having seen the necessity of CERB during COVID-19, are supportive of a Basic Income.  Its time has come. 

For more than 50 years, Senators, studying the problem of poverty, have been proposing a GLI.

7. Financially feasible.  The cost would be offset by the elimination of our inadequate EI and welfare programs. This would free up money for the provinces’ social benefits programs such as childcare, pharma and dental care, housing, mental health, and disability. The GLI could be financed by eliminating tax credits and other benefits to high-income individuals (e.g. offshore tax shelters). Further, there would be cost-savings related to the price that poverty exacts on our healthcare and justice systems  (Evelyn Forget, BICN)

8. A way to alleviate the Global Climate Crisis as those living in poverty are the least able to be environmentally conscious. Poverty and environmental issues are interrelated.  (UNICEF)

9. A way to stimulate and revive the economy. 

To reiterate, a GLI is one of a suite of supports needed for marginalized communities in Canada. Universal childcare, which will become a reality in 2022 with this government, accessible housing, transit, pharmacare, dental care, and mental health supports are just as important. 

Now is the time to make this happen. 

Will your Government move forward on this issue and support the 50 Senators who recommended this, as well as the thousands of Canadians who will benefit from a Guaranteed Liveable Income?

Yours sincerely,

Andrea Stewart

406 Reynolds Street

Oakville, ON L6J 3M4

Member of GASP