Several countries have a Universal Basic Income in place, why not Canada?
Federal Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not about socialism and a disincentive to work! It is about freedom, and trust. It is about knowing each individual Canadian can choose how they manage their finances and plan life based on their individual circumstances
I believe Canadians as a society are ready to trust the judgment of each individual over the judgment of the bureaucrats. It becomes about whether we want an expensive, cumbersome and confusing system or do we prefer a simpler way to get a living wage income into the hands of the people that need it the most.
Can you imagine a Canada without EI, CPP, OAS, GIS and Allowance for the Survivor? All those billions in premiums no one wants to pay and, the billions sitting in poorly invested accounts that can go towards a simple monthly UBI payment to every adult Canadian.
The implementation of a UBI can eliminate the need for a provincial welfare system and put those funds towards more social economic programs. Having a Universal Basic Income in place would incentivize more people to seek higher learning with the aim of ultimately improving their employment prospects. Having some form of financial security would bring a level of dignity in life of many Canadians that face uncertainty of what their future might hold.
For those in a higher income bracket can choose how to invest their extra income according to existing tax laws and individual/family needs. There can also be a discussion as to whether the UBI should even apply to those that surpass a pre determined high net worth threshold.
An additional benefit of the UBI would be the incredible boost it will give to the Canadian economy, similar to that of the CERB, but sustained. There have been pilot programs in Manitoba and Ontario affirming the benefits of a UBI and how it improves the quality of life of Canadians. No further studies are needed!
In my opinion, during these ideologically and politically divisive times, a true Universal Basic Income is the one idea that Libertarians and Socialists can all agree on. This just might bring some much needed unity to our great country.
As Dutch philosopher Rutger Bregman said: “Poverty is not a lack of character. It’s a lack of cash.”
If we are truly a “Just Society” then we should believe in Unity, Respect and Prosperity. A Federal Universal Basic Income can make this happen.
By Marilyn Alexiou