11 June 2020
MP X Y
Riding of Z
COVID-19 has increased Canadian’s interest in a Basic Income Guarantee. Precarious times have helped many of us feel the need for better income security. You and your Parliamentary colleagues have shown your support for emergency income assistance through CERB. Many of us are now turning our attention to more permanent policy responses, including a BIG. There are many versions of a BIG, including those proposed by the Basic Income Canada Network, The Green Party of Canada, and UBI Works.
While a BIG sounds attractive, many politicians, media commentators, and taxpayers are concerned about possible negative effects of a BIG. One concern is that a BIG will give money to people who don’t need it. This is an understandable concern that is based on equating a BIG with a Universal Basic Income – where every adult gets a UBI regardless of their income. This is a U.S. model popularized by Andrew Yang. This is not the model we are recommending.
A more Canadian model is a Basic Income Guarantee, a model currently used for the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors. This model is the one the Governments of Canada and Manitoba jointly piloted for a BIG in the 1970s and similar to the one used in the recent Government of Ontario pilot. These programs produced consistent patterns of improved wellbeing and boosts to local economies. Such a BIG would be universally available to those who earn below a designated income threshold.
The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) has recommended that Canada design and implement a Basic Income Guarantee for 18 to 64 year old residents of Canada. BICN members have real expertise and are available to you as you think about a BIG.
I hope you will engage in ongoing conversations about a Basic Income Guarantee with your constituents and colleagues. I am interested in hearing about your concerns about a BIG, both now and at the lobby day on Parliament Hill on October 20.
I look forward to hearing from you now and seeing you in Ottawa on October 20th.