From paycheque to paycheque: a rising call for basic income

Niagara Independent

As many white-collar Canadians return to work today, the friendly question of “how were your holidays?” will be asked by co-workers across the country. 

A friendly ice breaker to re-connect with co-workers is usually followed by a response like “it was good. I did x, y, and z. How was yours?” and then the day continues. 

This year, it might be different. With Canada’s unemployment rate at 5.7 per cent and 50 per cent of Canadians now reporting they’re living paycheque to paycheque, many will be wrestling with uncomfortable truths.

The reality is that many Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. Despite having some of the strongest social nets in North America to help those who need it, Canada’s current programs are failing to meet the nation’s needs. There has been much debate about creating a universal basic income (UBI) to ensure that all Canadians are able to pay their bills and have a roof over their heads. 

Currently, there are two bills before Parliament, one in the House of Commons and the other in the Senate, which are looking to establish the framework for a UBI program in Canada. The bill before the House, first introduced by the NDP in 2021, has all but stalled. The bill before the Senate is currently being examined by the Senate’s finance committee. 

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