National organizations push for universal income to be a hot election topic

Capital Current

As Canada’s political leaders push for the votes of citizens on Sept. 20 in the midst of a pandemic, issues that affect ordinary people are coming to the fore. One of those issues that has been gaining some currency is the idea of a basic income for all.

The idea is being pushed by leading basic income organizations and activists. These groups and individuals want a universal basic income to be a priority in the federal election. 

A universal basic income is an unconditional payment from the government to individuals to uphold a certain level of income. 

“Basic income at its core is a guarantee that no one — no matter what your circumstances, no matter the cracks in the current system — should have to live below a certain income level,” said Liam Wilkinson, public relations strategist at UBI Works

Although Canada doesn’t currently have a universal basic income, basic income programs do exist for seniors and parents of young children. 

Basic income pilot programs were implemented in Manitoba in 1974, and in 2017 then premier Kathleen Wynne’s government introduced the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, a three-year program ultimately cut short by the Ford government in 2018. 

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