This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
While, thanks to the nation's public broadcasting system, Canadians are completely distracted with all things COVID and while the House of Commons (Canada's federal parliamentary body) sits mainly empty, the ruling socialist-leaning Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau has introduced legislation that will ultimately lead to a Universal Basic Income/Guaranteed Basic Income.
Bill C-273 was introduced for first reading on February 22, 2021 as a private members bill by Liberal Member of Parliament and backbench dweller Julie Dzerowicz:
For those of you that don't understand Canada's political system, private member's bills are supposedly introduced into parliament by a legislator, often a backbencher (i.e. non-cabinet minister) who is not acting on behalf of a party leader/executive. In Canada's parliament, most bills are introduced by the ruling party or by members of the opposition party. Here is more information on private member's bills from the House of Commons website
Here is the text of Bill-273:
"Whereas all Canadians have the right to have their basic needs met, to participate fully in society and to live with dignity, regardless of their employment status;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to promoting those rights, including by reducing income inequality and other disparities that exist in communities across the country;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to supporting the workforce of the 21st century by ensuring that program and service delivery structures are more responsive to workforce disruptions, and that the social welfare system is flexible and adaptable;
Whereas the Government of Canada is determined to ensure that its social welfare system is updated to meet the current and future needs of Canadians and to realign its program and service delivery structures to maximize Canadians’ ability to innovate;
Whereas a guaranteed basic income program could enhance the economy’s ability to grow and improve its productivity;
And whereas a guaranteed basic income program could lift many Canadians out of poverty and provide them with the stability they need to access education and employment opportunities and to reach their full potential;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
This Act may be cited as the National Strategy for a Guaranteed Basic Income Act.
Definition of Minister
In this Act, Minister means the Minister of Finance.
(1) The Minister must develop a national strategy to assess implementation models for a guaranteed basic income program in Canada.
(2) In developing the strategy, the Minister must consult with the Minister of Employment and Social Development, the Minister of Industry, representatives of provincial governments responsible for employment and social development, leaders of Indigenous communities and governments, representatives of municipal governments, experts in guaranteed basic income pilot projects, the academic community and key stakeholders, including representatives of organizations involved in labour and employment and in entrepreneurship and innovation.
(3) The strategy must include measures to
(a) establish a pilot project in one or more provinces to test models of implementation of a guaranteed basic income program;
(b) create a framework of national standards to guide the implementation of a guaranteed basic income program in any province;
(c) support research programs that will provide evidence to guide the design and implementation of a guaranteed basic income program in each province, including through collaboration with international organizations and institutions with experience of similar programs;
(d) collect and analyze data for the purpose of assessing, for each model tested,
(i) the effect on government, including in relation to the efficiency, flexibility, cost, continuity and responsiveness of program and service delivery models and the potential of a guaranteed basic income program to reduce the complexity of or replace existing social programs, to alleviate poverty and to support economic growth,
(ii) the effect on recipients and their families, including in relation to their quality of life, their physical and mental health, their use of health services, and in relation to housing stability, living standards, nutrition, savings, education, social relations and labour market participation, and
(iii) the direct or indirect benefits for the recipients’ communities, including in relation to entrepreneurship, job creation and civic action; and
(e) establish metrics that may be used to measure the effects and benefits described in subparagraphs
(d)(i) to (iii).
4 The Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, may enter into an agreement with the government of a province for the collection, analysis and sharing of data for the purpose of determining how a guaranteed basic income program might best be structured and implemented in the province.
Reports to Parliament
Tabling of national strategy
5 (1) Within two years after the day on which this Act comes into force, the Minister must prepare a report setting out the national strategy and cause it to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15days on which that House is sitting after it is completed.
(2) The Minister must publish the report on the website of the Department of Finance within 10 days after it has been tabled in both Houses of Parliament.
6 Within two years after the report referred to in section 5 has been tabled in both Houses of Parliament, the Minister must, in consultation with the parties referred to in subsection 3(2), prepare a report on the results of the implementation of the national strategy in each province that sets out the Minister’s conclusions and recommendations, and cause it to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after it is completed."
Currently, Chrystia Freeland is Canada's Minister of Finance (and Deputy Prime Minister). Under her watch, Canadians can pretty much assure themselves that a Universal Basic Income is a done deal, particularly given her close association with the World Economic Forum as shown here:
…and the presence of former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney who is also closely associated with the World Economic Forum as shown here:
…and advisor to the Trudeau government as shown here:
You might be wondering what the World Economic Forum has to do with a Universal Basic Income. Here is your answer:
Here is a quote from the article with my bolds:
"During these times, when we need to kickstart sputtering economies, the payoff of social stability would be tremendous, making an even more powerful argument for UBI.
So a new social contract needs to emerge from this crisis that rebalances deep inequalities that are prevalent across societies. To put it bluntly: The question should no longer be whether resources for effective social protection can be found – but how they can be found. UBI promises to be a useful element of such a framework.
Countries like the United States and Canada are already making such plans. Alaska, in fact, has been making annual UBI-type payments, to every state resident, for decades. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau pledged CAD$2,000 a month, for the next four months, to workers who have lost income due to the pandemic – a short-term form of UBI. Now we need to expand it and make it work in the long-term, and we can.
We must approach it differently from how we have in the past. We should neither view it as a hand-out, nor as a Band-Aid solution to add on to systems already in place. Instead, we should use the current twin crises to re-evaluate where we are “still digging”.
To make UBI fly, we will need fair taxation. Countries will have to work together, exchanging data across borders, to stop people and corporations from evading taxes. Simply put, we must all pay our fair share. With good conscience, we can no longer privatize profit and socialize loss.
Then stop the subsidies, notably fossil-fuel subsidies, which hinder the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – especially climate-change targets. This would benefit us all, while generating financial resources not just for UBI, but also to support affected fossil-fuel companies."
Just in case you should happen to think that a Universal Basic Income is strictly a Canadian phenomenon, here are two graphics from Visual Capitalist showing which jurisdictions have experimented with UBI:
Future UBI experiments are planned for San Francisco, California, St. Paul, Minnesota, Newark, New Jersey, Scotland and Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.
If there's one thing that we can assure ourselves of it's that a Universal Basic Income is coming whether we like the idea or not. It is a very clear cut way that governments can control their citizens; if they don't like your behaviour or reliefs, they are in control of your monthly government stipend. It is also a way to ensure that the serf class remains where it is, as a source of labour for the ruling class. A Universal Basic Income will not reduce income inequality, it will magnify the income and wealth differences between "us" and our "overlords".
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