The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on almost every Canadian. The federal government has taken steps to ensure many Canadians receive additional funds to help pay their bills. But within the past two years the federal government could have had some type of national minimum income program which would have benefited Canadians today.
When people lose their jobs they also lose any additional health benefits (e.g. dental, prescription drugs, physiotherapy, mental health support, etc.). This may mean not being able to afford certain medications and treatment they need. A Guaranteed Livable Income can help prevent some people having to make a choice between prescriptions or food (in addition to a national pharmacare program which I also support). It should also allow people to have the security to learn new skills or start their own business without the fear of not being able to cover their basic necessities.
A Guaranteed Livable Income wouldn’t be a sub-poverty level stipend. It could eventually replace almost all social programs including E.I., O.A.S. and C.P.P. The massive simplification of our social safety net should mostly pay for itself.
Back in 2018, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos supported the idea of a guaranteed minimum income, but the Liberals never followed through with it. A Guaranteed Livable Income is something the Green Party has been championing for years and the COVID-19 pandemic shows the need for it.
Ontario Liberals did start some universal income test projects—which were cancelled by the Ontario Conservatives—and the federal Liberals eventually may do the right thing, but likely only after trying everything else and, much like many other policies, years after Greens propose it.
Making sure all Canadians have the resources to stay healthy and stay warm should always be a priority.