Guaranteed Basic Income To Be Debated At Upcoming Liberal Convention

A guaranteed basic income for all Canadians is a step closer to becoming a reality.

A permanent and guaranteed basic income for all is the top policy choice of Liberal Members of Parliament at an upcoming national convention. The Liberal caucus is calling on the government to adopt the idea in a priority policy resolution for consideration at the party's national convention to be held in Ottawa November 12 to 15.

The government hastily introduced the $2,000-per-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in March to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 pandemic, which the Liberal caucus resolution calls a "progressive and transformative program" that supported 8.5 million Canadians and proved to be "both effective and popular."

Indeed, 40% of Canada’s eligible workforce was on CERB this past spring and summer and advocates are fighting the government’s efforts to now wind down the program. Proponents had hoped that the CERB would eventually evolve into a permanent guaranteed basic income of $2,000 a month for everyone in Canada. However, the program is now being replaced by more generous and flexible employment insurance.

Economists have said that a guaranteed basic income would provide a disincentive for Canadians to work. The CERB payments this year have helped push the federal government’s budget deficit to a record high $343 billion.