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Basic Income Motion Tabled By Canadian MP Gains Momentum

Over 30,000 Canadians have now signed a petition in support of a recently proposed motion for creating a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income (GLBI).

  • This comes after Angus Reid polling in June that showed that 60% of Canadians support a form of basic income beyond the current pandemic.

Driving the news: On August 10th, 2020, the New Democrat Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, Leah Gazan, proposed a motion, M-46, for the implementation of a GLBI to replace the CERB.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated that we do have the resources. We must ensure all individuals in Canada can thrive in dignity and that means making investments to ensure basic human rights for all.”

Leah Gazan

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A form of Universal Basic Income (UBI), a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income aims to ensure that all Canadians, based on their location, would be given the right to meet what is considered a “living income”, for their given area, supplemented by the government.

  • For example, if the calculated living income for Kingston, Ontario is $2500 per month, and you live in Kingston and only make $2000, the government would provide you with a cheque of $500 to ensure that you would meet the requirements of a living income for Kingston, Ontario.
  • If one’s average income changes, let us say $2000 to $2250, they will then receive less in supplemental income from the government, so rather than a $500 cheque they will receive a $250 cheque.
  • As one’s income increases and becomes closer to the calculated living income for their region, the less they will receive from the government. If one’s income were to decrease and become further from the calculated living income for their region, the more they will receive from the government.
  • If at any point one were to meet or surpass the calculated living income for their region, they will no longer receive supplemental cheques from the government.

Winnipeg Centre MP Leah Gazan’s proposed GLBI:

  1. Would account for differences in regional living costs throughout Canada.
  2. Would include disabled people, seniors, people over 18, single persons, families, students, permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, and refugee claimants.
  3. Would be provided on a regular basis.
  4. Would not require participating in education, the labour market and training to be eligible.
  5. Should not replace current or future public services.


The most recent trial in Canada for a UBI was the Ontario Basic Income Experience pilot, which was cancelled prematurely, showed successful results in that period. 

  • According to economics professor Wayne Lewchuk of McMaster University, a member of the research team, almost three-quarters of the recipients of the program kept their jobs, disproving the commonly associated myth.

“Many of those who continued working were actually able to move to better jobs, jobs that had a higher hourly wage, that had in general better working conditions, that they felt were more secure.”

  • Among recipients who stopped working, approximately 50% went back to school in pursuit of a better job.

Recipients also stated that both their mental and physical health had improved. Here are some of the numbers from 217 polled participants:

  • Almost 80% stated their overall health had improved.
  • 83% stated they felt less anxious or stressed.
  • 81% stated their self-confidence had improved.
  • Over 50% stated they utilized less tobacco.
  • 48% stated they drank less.
  • 66% stated they had formed better family relations.
  • It was also mentioned that respondents visited the hospital less and had improved housing security and diets.   

Lewchuk recounted a particular situation, in which,

“I remember one individual who said ‘Look, I was on the edge of suicide. I just felt nobody cared about me. I didn’t know how to make ends meet and now with basic income I feel like I can be part of society”.

Lastly, Lewchuk stated,

“What became clear is that as people moved to some stability their health improved, their mental health improved, their outlook on life improved”.

The Bottom Line: Motion 46 for a Guaranteed Liveable Basic Income brings forward a form of Universal Basic Income which many Canadians progressives have been calling for. Following the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wealth inequality has increased along with housing prices. A guaranteed liveable income could be instrumental in increasing the standard of living for low income Canadians.

  • The motion caps off a busy month for Canada’s NDP which also introduced Motion 43 for a wealth tax and Motion 1 for a Green New Deal, all as measures to improve Canada’s economic recovery following the Pandemic.
  • With the House now in recess, the motion is likely to sit on the floor for a little while before being debated for a day before Motion 46 is voted on.

The MP for Winnipeg Centre, Leah Gazan, put together a petition for a guaranteed living basic income in Canada which can be found here.

  • As of right now, the petition has received nearly 30,000 signatures over three weeks.


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