Coronavirus: Guaranteed Income Vital to Our Social Economic Health

A few days ago I felt the need to give money to a mother outside of an Ottawa supermarket you had no money to feed herself and her children as a result of losing her gig job due to coronavirus closures.  

I have also been seeing more and more people in Ottawa foraging for food in downtown garbage cans.

In a modern and progressive society that Canada represents this is an unacceptable state of affairs.

Too much time, money and effort is being wasted by various levels of government in Canada devising various "relief programs" targeting various groups.

What Canadians need to get financially through the devastating impacts of the coronavirus is a Guaranteed Income.

"What it costs in additional spending, the thinking goes, it makes up in reduced bureaucracy for both the government and recipients," states the National Post.

"Federal officials have considered the idea as one of a wide range of possibilities to reshape social-safety-net programs for a modern labour market marked by automation, more short-term “gig economy” jobs and a need for people to retrain several times in their working lives," elaborates the National Post.

"They will not work as a means of maintaining economic activity, and perhaps more crucially, they will not secure the ongoing co-operation necessary to achieve the government’s public health goals. Workers who are left behind are not likely to quietly suffer and comply," suggests a different article in the National Post.

The Trudeau government's current focus on EI completely ignores millions of Canadians who are not part of the EI system and who depend on the gig economy which has suffered with mandatory government closures.

Meanwhile, one in seven people in Canada lives in poverty — which hurts everyone, because poverty is expensive. In 2008, for instance, the cost of failing to address poverty in Ontario – including everything from health care and criminal justice system costs to lost tax revenue – was estimated to be 10 to 16 per cent of the province’s budget. That’s around $2,000 to $3,000 per household per year.

Over the past two decades, the richest Canadians have seen their share of income go up and up. The top one per cent absorbed almost a third of all income growth between 1997 and 2007, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

A guaranteed liveable income would create a huge government budgetary savings by reducing the social ill-effects of poverty and is needed more than ever as more Canadians become threatened with poverty including homelessness.


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