Basic Income Goes Viral: Essential for Pandemic Recovery, Says New Report

For Immediate Release - 17 June 2020

Work is not enough to guarantee Canadians basic security. It never was. The only way to deal with this harsh reality is for one of the world’s richest countries to guarantee a basic livable income to everyone, regardless of employment status. This is a key conclusion from the report Rethinking Work and Income Security in the 21st Century: The case for Basic Income and Work.

This report was the result of a visionary gathering of Basic Income (BI) supporters months before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. CERB has guaranteed income for many – but not all – Canadians.

“If BI had been in place when the pandemic arrived,” said Jim Mulvale, part of the organizing team on behalf of the Ontario Basic Income Network, “there would have been a lot less scrambling to hastily construct and then fix holes in the ‘emergency’ income security measures.”

Another key conclusion of the report was that it is finally time to sever the link between personal security and a job. “The trend towards precarious and low wage work will only get worse as our economy reopens and employers look to cut costs,” concludes the report.

Organized by the Ontario Basic Income Network, the gathering brought together people with lived experience of poverty, advocates for low-income and disabled persons, social service workers, trade unionists as well as experts on labour and unemployment services.

The pandemic has focused public attention as never before on proposals for a Basic Income Guarantee. Over half Canada’s sitting Senators of every political persuasion have appealed to the federal government to consider BI in addressing the huge gaps between the most and least privileged among us. “Paid work has been precarious both pre- and post-Covid,”explained Mulvale. “BI would  provide a dependable, simple and comprehensive safety net for everyone.”

“Basic income gives people enough self-esteem and security that they can actually go out and seek out employment,” said a participant whose Basic Income was terminated by the Ford government.

Read the report here.

Visit the Cases for Basic Income pages


Jim Mulvale, Co-facilitator, Ontario Basic Income Network

(+1) 437-488-9600 (mobile)    [email protected]

Chandra Pasma, Policy analyst and Basic Income Canada Network Advisory Council member

(1+) 613-866-2928 (mobile)    [email protected]