Parliamentary Budget Officer Endorses A Basic Income Program

The idea of a basic income program for Canada has won the endorsement of the influential Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Yves Giroux says a basic income program similar to one studied in the province of Ontario could cut poverty rates nationally by half.

Giroux’s office undertook its own study and estimates that poverty rates could fall by as much as 61.9% in Manitoba and 13.5% in Newfoundland and Labrador if the federal government instituted a basic income program.

At its core, a basic or guaranteed income provides a no-strings-attached government benefit to citizens to provide each with a minimum amount of earnings. Four years ago, Ontario began studying the effects of providing people with a guaranteed income that would take them three-quarters of the way to the poverty line.

Giroux's report says a federal program modelled on Ontario’s experiment would see workers nationally reduce their hours worked by 1.3%. The overall cost of a basic income program run by the federal government would be an estimated $85 billion, rising to $93 billion by 2026.