PEI report on basic income welcomed by BICN Chair

On November 22, 2023, “A Proposal for a Guaranteed Basic Income Benefit in Prince Edward Island” was released publicly. Building on the work of the Special Committee on Poverty in PEI, and in support of the statement in the current Mandate Letter to the Minister of Social Development and Seniors to ‘continue to advocate with the federal government in pursuing a joint pilot program for a Basic Income Guarantee‘, this report presents a basic income model for a fully-funded 5 to 7 year demonstration program in PEI.

The program would considerably reduce poverty for Islanders while being more cost-effective than previously presented models. This collaborative year-long process has been championed by economists, researchers, public servants, politicians, and advocates from Prince Edward Island and across the country. The report will be available publicly online on November 22 at www.GBIreport.ca.

Leading basic income experts and authors of the report alongside local anti-poverty advocates took part in a media conference on November 22 to discuss the release of the report.

“The Basic Income Canada Network welcomes the PEI Report and its significance for our national work. Two developments stand out in particular,” notes Sheila Regehr, BICN’s Chair and co-author of BICN’s own policy options report in 2020.

“The first is a new design option in how a family is defined that can support effectiveness in reaching people who need benefits most while providing very significant cost savings. If that is as effective nationally it makes the case even more strongly that a basic income guarantee for Canada is feasible and affordable. In addition, the report reinforces how critical it is for governments to work together. That’s becoming more urgent as affordability issues and uncertainty grow. It’s why we support bills by Senator Kim Pate (S-233) and MP Leah Gazan (C-223) calling for a national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income that leaves no one in this country behind.”

Sid Frankel, BICN executive board member from Manitoba, adds, “I hope the work done in PEI encourages others. There are so many municipalities calling for a basic income, the report of the Enquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls  calls for it. It would be an enormous benefit for the people of my province and I’m looking forward to having a dialogue with our new government and Indigenous leaders here about that potential.”