What is Basic Income?

Basic income is an alternative income support program where the government pays money on a regular basis to individuals to ensure that no one’s income drops below the minimum needed to provide an adequate standard of living.

How much would it pay?

The amount paid must be enough to provide an adequate standard of living as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The benefit amount should allow recipients without other income to live a simple lifestyle with dignity, be healthy and participate in their community.

Wouldn’t everyone stop working?

People work for two main reasons:
  1. they have a strong urge to do something constructive with their talents,
  2. they want a good standard of living.
A basic income paying a poverty-line benefit would not change this.
How would it be paid for?

The funds could come from several sources. The costs of eliminated programs would be recouped. Savings would be realized in health care and corrections. Royalties from resource extraction (as with the Alaska Permanent Fund) could be used. The income tax system could be reformed to make it simpler and more progressive.

How would it work?

It would be a federal program administered through the income tax system. Anyone who files an income tax return could be eligible to receive the benefit. It would replace some of the income-support programs we have now, such as social assistance and some tax credits. It would be supplemented with other programs such as housing, employment, disability and health care supports.

What’s wrong with our current system?

Canada’s economy is doing a poor job of providing secure, adequate incomes for enough people, and our current system is not providing a reliable safety net to prevent people from suffering hardship.