BICN chair says basic income obvious solution to cost-of-living challenge

Roderick Benns

The Globe and Mail is reporting the federal cabinet will discuss this week whether new federal measures are needed to help Canadians with the cost of living – but there’s an obvious solution, according to the Chair of the Basic Income Canada Network, Sheila Regehr.

“This country needs a permanent, well-designed basic income that is able to reach everyone and provides the vehicle to deliver support readily as people need it,” says Regehr.

As the Bank of Canada announced a 0.75-per-cent rate hike aimed at taming inflation, the Globe reports that some provinces, including Saskatchewan and Quebec, have issued direct payments to individuals as an inflation-relief policy. Still others approved temporary cuts to the provincial gas tax.

“The cabinet debate is just more evidence, added to the pandemic experience, that Canada has huge gaps in income security,” says Regehr.

“We can’t keep lurching from one crisis to the next with temporary Band-Aids and hiding from the reality that for individuals and society another crises could be just around the corner,” she says.

The Chair of the registered non-profit calls basic income “an automatic stabilizer,” saying it’s exactly what we need.

“We can even prevent crises that way and help heal the wounds of long standing inequities at the root of many societal ills.”