500 signatures reached
To: BC Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Nicholas Simons
A livable basic income guarantee for everyone who needs it
Dear Minister Simons,
We are petitioning you to enter into discussions with the federal government to create a new national livable basic income guarantee (BIG) for every adult of working-age who needs it.
We are disappointed that your expert panel on basic income did not recommend a BIG that would provide income security for all people living in poverty in BC, regardless of their work status. The report unfortunately sets up a basic income as an “either/or” proposition, instead of a “yes/and” one. The panel rejected a BIG and instead recommended targeted basic income for some but not for others, leaving single parents (mostly women) and other low-income working-age adults living in deep poverty. Each of us deserves to have both income security and the social supports and services we need to meet our unique challenges and vulnerabilities so we can live with dignity, regardless of our work status.
We recognize that income alone is not enough. We support many of the panel’s recommendations to improve and enhance BC’s social services and supports, including extended health care benefits, housing supports, work supports, labour regulation reforms, education and training, and programs that support social inclusion and promote labour market attachment.
A BIG, however, is best funded and delivered by the federal government. It should be administered like other large Canadian income transfer programs, such as the Canada Child Benefit, Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors, as well as the Canada Pension Plan and a reformed Employment Insurance program. We want all low-income working-age adults who need it to receive a livable BIG. This is the only way to prevent individuals from falling through the cracks.
A livable BIG is a cornerstone of a just recovery. A just recovery must address not only social justice, but also environmental and economic justice. We are facing a very challenging social and ecological transition ahead: climate change; energy transition; employment transition; racism and discrimination; vast income inequality; deep poverty; pandemics; an opioid crisis and food insecurity. Income security provided by a livable BIG for everyone who needs it will either support individual and community resilience by its presence or make it very difficult for us to adapt by its absence. The Royal Society of Canada’s Task Force on COVID-19 just published their report by 11 top Canadian academics, mostly economists, including a member of BC’s expert panel: Renewing the Social Contract: Economic Recovery in Canada from COVID-19. Their #1 recommendation is a basic income guarantee.
Prince Edward Island’s all-party Special Committee on Poverty just released its report calling for the creation of a full basic income guarantee that maintains all of PEIs social programs and services that support people with low-income. To create a BIG, the Committee recommended that PEI enter into negotiations with the federal government.
We urge the BC government to do the same and enter into discussions with the federal government to establish a national basic income guarantee. This is how we get to a “yes/and” proposition and to a renewed income and social support system for BC.
Why is this important?
Until we have a national livable basic income guarantee for everyone who needs it, regardless of their work status, many of us will continue to be left behind living in poverty. We need a renewed social safety net for the 21st century that includes both income security and the social supports and services we need. We are facing turbulent times: climate change; energy transition; employment transition; racism and discrimination; vast income inequality; deep poverty; pandemics; an opioid crisis and food insecurity. Any one of us can fall into poverty at any time. To successfully adapt to all of the challenges of the 21st century, we need a social safety net that will catch not just some of us - but all of us. We each deserve to live with sufficient income and the supports and services we need to live with dignity.
How it will be delivered
By email with a media release