Basic Income and Poverty

Basic Income Could Slow the Wealth Transfer to the Rich

Intergenerational-Wealth by Cohort

You see on the graph three lines, all trending to the top and to the right. On the left-hand side is a percentage of total societal wealth owned. On the bottom axis is the median age of each of the three cohorts. The lines are thus the wealth accumulated by each cohort at each specific age.

The red line, for baby boomers, starts at age 35, since the data set begins in 1990. It begins at 20%, increases to 30% at age 41 or so, and achieves 40% at age 45, and 50% at age 55, topping out at 56% at age 64 (or present-day).

The orange line, right underneath, is for Generation X. It starts at 1992 and age 20, at which point Gen Xers had 3% of the wealth. By age 35 they have 8% of it (vs 20% that the Boomers had achieved), and by age 45 which is approximately where the line ends, they have achieved 15% of it (vs the 40% Boomers had achieved.)

The Yellow line is on the bottom and if for Millennials. It is short since present-day Millenials are still in their early 30s. It is underneath the Millenials line at approximately half of the wealth attainment.

Take-away: By the age of 35, Boomers had accumulated 20% of the total wealth of society. GenXers had accumulated 8%. Millennials are pacing for 4%.

This is taken from a Washington Post article which you can read here.

Basic Income Could Have Been Cheaper than CERB

The Parliamentary Budget Officer looked at the cost of a six-month basic income and found that it would be cheaper than the first four months of CERB. It also would have served more Canadians experiencing financial hardship. Equally important,  the stress of not knowing if and when payments would stop would not be present.

Basic Income Could Have Been Cheaper than CERB: Watchdog

Take 30 seconds to help make the government's promise to end chronic homelessness a reality

link to Homelessness Recovery letter to government

In Canada, people experiencing homelessness are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19 as a result of compromised health, crowded living conditions, poor hygiene and a lack of access to health care. As of today, there have been more COVID-19 positive cases in Toronto’s emergency shelter system than in all of the provinces of Manitoba and New Brunswick combined.

But there is hope! The federal government made a commitment to eliminating chronic homelessness in the Speech from the Throne. To eliminate chronic homelessness in Canada the government needs to implement the 6-Point Plan laid out by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. We are asking our Parliament to implement this plan and make this promise a reality in the coming budget.

We know how to end homelessness once and for all, all it takes is the political will. 


Learn more about the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Recovery For All campaign. 

Canadians Have a Ravenous Appetite for Action on Inequality – Will the Government Feed It?

News Release - Senators Lankin, McCallum, and Pate - Ottawa - 23 September 2020

Senators Lankin, McCallum and Pate hosted a meeting with Indigenous women leaders and MP Leah Gazan to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous women in Manitoba and the place of guaranteed livable basic income in redressing systemic racism and inequality.

“We heard so many examples of the ways in which the pandemic has amplified food and income insecurity, the tragedy of horrendous mortality rates, child removal, homelessness and massive incarceration in Winnipeg that are so clearly tied to income level. We also heard the hopefulness of Indigenous women who foresee the links between the development and co-management of social services and guaranteed livable income so that they can afford food, clothing, housing, sending children to recreation programs or on field trips. The women were very clear,” identified Senator Frances Lankin. “For healthy communities, we need healthy families, including sufficient resources, especially money and time, to spend time with children, volunteer in their classes and the community.”

“We listened carefully to the experiences. Poor people are subject to such harmful stereotypes that characterize them as having ‘budgeting problems’ and GLI as a handout. We also heard the links between economic insecurity, sexual exploitation and other human rights violations. For those on social assistance, most were not able to get CERB. If they were, they are now ending up being cut off from social assistance and so they’ve lost the minimal support they had previously. It was awful to hear about women being or feeling pressured to take both because they wanted to provide for their kids,” continued Senator Mary Jane McCallum.

“I was especially struck by the discussion about the costs of being poor. The women reminded us of the research on how many hours it takes to be poor; the reality is that it takes all day to be poor – at least 12 to 14 hours per day to access services and systems that are supposed to be supporting people,” added Senator Kim Pate. “We heard ample evidence of the ways a guaranteed livable income could relieve economic, health, social and psychological stress and provide people, especially women, the chance to look forward and plan ahead. We heard the urgent calls for action and committed to work with our Senate and Commons colleagues to advance guaranteed livable income and achieve the changes so desperately needed by and for so many.”

 For more information:

Henry Paikin                                                              James Campbell

Office of Senator FrancesLankin                         Office of Senator Mary Jane McCallum

[email protected]                             [email protected]

613-415-5953                                                            613-882-8194


Emily Grant                                                                Claire Johnston            

Office of Senator Kim Pate                                    Office of Leah Gazan, M.P.

[email protected]                                  [email protected]

613-995-9220                                                            613-992-5308

"Human Again": The (Unrealized) Promise of Basic Income in Ontario

Journal of Poverty - Leah Hamilton and James Mulvale - 20 May 2019

This article compares social assistance in Ontario with a pilot project to test basic income as an alternative method of enabling economic security and social participation. Interviews conducted with pilot recipients indicated a desire to be financially independent, but that the conditionality of traditional programs had negative repercussions including work disincentives and bureaucratic hurdles. Respondents reported that basic income improved their nutrition, health, housing stability, and social connections; and better facilitated long-term financial planning.

*** Download article here.

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness Campaign - Recovery for All

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is a national movement of individuals, organizations and communities working together to end homelessness in Canada.


"Alleviating poverty is key to preventing homelessness. A national guaranteed minimum income will ensure those in greatest need have minimum financial resources to help them meet their basic needs and prevent homelessness when times are tough."

By joining this grassroots movement, you are helping to end homelessness in Canada once and for all. We have a plan. It is affordable. It will create jobs. And it will work.

*** Read the Six Point Plan to End Homelessness in Canada and sign up to support the movement here.

The Horrors of Social Assistance in Ontario

*** Article coming soon

Main points covered in article:

The mental stress experienced by almost all recipients.

The high level of administration and complexity of rules

  1. Based on the above, the high cost of administering the programs.
  2. How work is discouraged meaning lost income and tax revenue
  3.  social workers act in a policing capacity and are also stressed
  4. A fixed rate for claw back of earnings makes no sense in the computer age
  5. How the system prejudices businesses and landlords against low income people
  6. Wy support systems are still required for low income and disabled person
  7. Why social workers may need retraining to at as social workers.
  8. Why a new software application is needed for a BI to simplify payments and claw backs that is less prone to errors and delays and paternal oversight.

Basic Income Plus Letter

basic income plus logo

Dear ______________,

COVID-19 realities have exposed deep gaps and shortfalls in our social structures. Prior to the pandemic several provincial governments had made targeted austerity cuts, and some continue to make cuts (largely unnoticed) during this crisis.

A future post-pandemic reality situated in austerity measures is a terrifying thought. We know what has happened in the past and we must join to fight for a better future for the majority of Canadians. It is time for the left, for lack of a better term, to take united and organized action to ensure this doesn’t happen.

We are calling this movement Basic Income Plus and it includes the following 5 focuses for us to start working together.

  1. Basic Income
  2. Green Economy
  3. Affordable housing
  4. Universal Pharmacare
  5. Public Enterprises for the People

The 5 issues included here work in tandem for the collective good. There should be something on this list that everyone can get behind and start organizing. While divided we barely get noticed, fighting together for these broad brushstrokes will work toward the kind of nation we all want to live in. We’ll push for the right implementation and the right details as we get closer to seeing results. For now, we need to demand policy shifts and get political will to move swiftly toward these ideals.

On Sept. 19, 2020, 36 cities across Canada have already signed up to march for basic income sponsored by the 100 CEOs in favour of a basic income. We believe that by marching united for Basic Income Plus we will provide an umbrella in which unions, community service organizations, and concerned citizens can unite to make sufficient noise to be heard – not only about basic income, but these additional progressive issues, too.

If you want to find out if your city or town is already signed up, contact Tracey at [email protected]. UBI Works will provide masks, sanitizers and material to all organizers. If you are in Kawartha Lakes, Kingston, Hamilton or Toronto, then organizing for the march has already started.

The worst thing that can happen is that we can't march due to COVID-19 - but we will at least have connected and will be able to make swift progress when we can be more active again. The best thing that can happen is that our collective action shifts political will.

If you are interested in discussing this further, then contact Joli Scheidler-Benns at [email protected]. For more information click this link: . You can also follow along on Facebook here: . We are non-partisan and don't represent a political agenda. Rather we are concerned citizens who want to have a better future and more equitable Canada. I look forward to talking further about this soon!


Joli Scheidler-Benns

*** Watch Joli in conversation with the hosts of BI Community Chat here.

The Cost of Poverty in Toronto - November 2016 Report


"This paper is a conservative analysis of the cost of poverty in 2016 in Canada’s largest city. Today’s costs have climbed considerably due to the rapid increase in the cost of accommodation. Poverty costs us all. This report estimates the cost of inaction. It estimates how much more we may be spending simply because poverty exists.

Poverty expands the cost of health care, policing burdens and depresses educational outcomes. This in turn reduces productivity and labour force flexibility, life span and economic expansion and social progress.   

Estimations of the cost of poverty in other cities can be approximated by using 2.7% of GDP for whatever catchment is being used.

We all pay taxes, even when we are poor. As income increases, so do the share of taxes paid. However, we forget the power that paying taxes has on people and communities and we can change for the better the social and economic conditions for others."


John Stapleton is one of the foremost experts on poverty in Canada. A Metcalf Innovation Fellow since 2006, The Cost of Poverty in Toronto report (November 2016) is the result of six months of collaborative work.

John worked for the Ontario Government for 28 years in the areas of Social Assistance Policy and Operations and was Research Director for the Task Force in five anti-poverty groups. He sits on federal Minister Duclos’ Advisory Committee on Poverty Reduction, the Minister of Community and Social Services Advisory Group on Social Assistance Reform and Toronto’s Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction.

Download the Report