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.
We need progressive tax reform to ensure that the burden of the pandemic is fairly shared. A recent Abacus Data poll found that most Canadians agree that the fiscal burden of the crisis should be fairly shared, and that those with the most should pay the most. Indeed, 75% of respondents favoured a tax of 1-2% on large fortunes, (44% strongly support and 31% support) including 69% of even Conservative voters.
Today, only a handful of advanced economies levy an annual tax on wealth. Though inheritance taxes are still quite commonly levied on large fortunes being passed from one generation to another, the tax “burden” in most advanced economies has shifted from taxation of capital and the affluent to taxes on labour and ordinary working families over the past three decades or so.
This paper makes the case for an annual wealth tax to add to our fiscal arsenal and to achieve greater equality.Read more
The Institute’s Senior Policy Analyst Brittany Andrew-Amofah interviewed former Deputy Minister of Ontario & Manitoba Michael Mendelson on Canada's housing crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what housing solutions should be considered as Canada moves towards a recovery. Michael Mendelson is currently a Maytree Fellow.Read more
In a medical sense, COVID-19, as highly contagious as it is, can be thought of as the great leveller. No one has immunity, and we face the health risk of this virus with a sense of our common humanity.Read more
EMERGENCY REMOTE LEARNING IN ONTARIO
On March 31st, Phase 2 of Ontario’s “Learn at Home” program was announced in response to COVID-19 school closures. The announcement has resulted in inconsistency in communication to parents and to teachers, who are tasked with supporting two million students with a diverse range of learning needs and inconsistent access to resources and support at home.Read more
A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer shows that the personal income tax cut proposed by the Trudeau Liberals will cost more in terms of lost revenue than first thought, and will strongly favour high income earners and families.Read more
Decent, safe, and affordable housing is an absolute foundation for healthy lives. Research has shown the critical links between housing and health. Without appropriate and secure housing, our health suffers, our mental health deteriorates, we are more stressed. Without affordable housing we may need to skip on food or medications in order to pay the rent. Every single person requires affordable housing in order to be healthy, and yet so many struggle to find decent housing in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world.Read more
In March, the Broadbent Institute commissioned a study from Abacus Data to explore how Canadians feel about present-day affordability concerns. Highlights of its findings paints a bleak picture:
1 in 4 Canadians say that issues such as money, taxes and housing are keeping them up at night;
Nearly 60 percent ranked issues tied to cost of living (wages, taxes, healthcare) as their top issues heading into the federal election;
Found there was a direct correlation between household income and concern about the cost of living; and,
When asked what would make a difference to make life more affordable, a majority felt that covering more under public health care such as dental, prescriptions, and home care, as well as access to decent work and wages would be most helpful.
The competing personal income tax cuts proposed by the Liberal and Conservative parties in this federal election are almost identical in terms of goals and re-distributive impact, and neither advance a truly progressive agenda.Read more
In May, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden caused a small media storm when comments he made that he had no empathy for millennials who argue they face more difficult economic circumstances than previous generations circulated on social media. Biden was only the most recent public figure to weigh in on what’s become a hot topic over the past few years.Read more