The unprecedented scale of job instability loss during the pandemic has reignited interest in providing Canadians with a basic income. Proposals range widely from a universal benefit to one offered to people in particular economic circumstances. The objective and cost of these programs, and how they fit in our overall social safety net, also vary greatly. And it's the details that matter.
This webpage is a compilation of Broadbent Institute published materials on the topic of basic income that seeks to offer insights and important considerations for advocates and policy-makers exploring this timely idea.
Report authors Angella MacEwen, Mark Rowlinson, Andrew Jackson, and Katrina Miller seek to clarify the problem that a basic income might solve, and outline principles to guide the development of social policy post-CERB, and in response to the COVID-19 shutdown and subsequent job losses, from a social-democratic perspective.
Andrew Jackson discusses why incremental reform towards an income-tested guarantee for working-age Canadians delivered through the tax system will be the best path forward as opposed to more visionary “big bang” solutions such as basic income.
This blog argues from a health perspective why advocacy efforts to address poverty and persistently low wages should be focused on achieving universal services for all, rather than universal basic income. This is done by increasing spending on public programs that improve health, assist children and seniors, and protect us from poverty and unemployment, in order to bolster the building blocks for a strong society.
As part of the Broadbent Institute’s 2020 Digital Convening Series, the Institute hosted a pressing conversation on the highly debated topic of universal basic income. The webinar featured prominent progressive thinkers, Simon Black and Armine Yalnizyan, to get their thoughts and expertise on whether basic income is the policy solution progressives should be advocating for.
Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Work, Armine Yalnizyan, explains why basic income isn’t a progressive policy solution to addressing poverty, wages and unemployment, but rather our collective efforts should remain fighting for decent work.
The speed and scale of job loss in the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown was unprecedented and disproportionately impacted low wage workers. This highlighted the fragility of our social safety net, especially for women and racialized low-waged workers, reigniting popular interest in a basic income. The size, simplicity and speed of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), delivered to millions of Canadians within weeks of the economic shutdown, has opened up the possibility of addressing the gaps in our income support system. CERB left some groups behind, but did reach a wide variety of precarious workers that would not have been helped by Employment Insurance (EI), and was more generous than the average EI benefit or social assistance payment.
Our report seeks to clarify the problem that a basic income might solve, and outline principles to guide policy development from a social-democratic perspective.
The speed and scale of job loss in the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown were unprecedented and disproportionately impacted low-wage workers. This highlighted the fragility of our social safety net, especially for women and racialized low-waged workers, reigniting popular interest in a basic income.
However, thoughtful consideration of basic income requires a review of the policies and programs currently in place and an evaluation of what’s working, what could be fixed, and what should be replaced. It's important we make sure we're asking the right questions before we try answering them.
While there is a great deal of debate on the topic of a basic income, there is also very little clarity, since many different policies fall under its broad umbrella.
This report is part of our Essential Solutions Project, which brings together experts across multiple disciplines to generate innovative answers to the complex challenges we face right now and chart a path towards a more equitable and resilient future for all of us.