By: Rob Rainer Kelly Ernst, Toronto Star, 27 February 2014
Toronto Star columnist Carol Goar suggests providing an income guarantee for all Canadians will break the bank (‘Basic annual income’ loaded with pitfalls, Feb. 25 “By endorsing a basic annual income, Liberal party delegates have forced Justin Trudeau to choose between social justice and fiscal rectitude.”).
Such claims are erroneous.
The efficacy of cash transfer programs is evident by their spread worldwide. A 2011 report by the U.K. Department for International Development stated, “Over the past 15 years, a ‘quiet revolution’ has seen governments in the developing world invest in increasingly large-scale cash transfer programs. These are now estimated to reach between 0.75 and 1 billion people.” In Latin America one in four citizens now receive cash directly from their governments.
What is most needed now in Canada is a basic income guarantee for working-age adults. Millions of them suffer in poverty, including many working one or more jobs. Millions more are in precarious work—employment at risk from outsourcing and “robosourcing,” annual incomes in stagnation, and one or two pay cheques away from serious hardship.
In the face of such trends and with economic disparity increasing, basic income is vital for workers to navigate the roiling economic rapids of the 21st century.
Rob Rainer is the founder and director of The BIG Push campaign of Basic Income Canada Network. Kelly Ernst is the Chair of the Board of Basic Income Canada Network.