On December 16, 2021, Private Members Bill C-233, “An Act to develop a national framework for guaranteed livable basic income”, received first reading in the House of Commons. The Bill is sponsored by the NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre, Leah Gazan.
What is Universal Basic Income (UBI)? In its simplest terms, it is a system in which the government provides every adult citizen with a set amount of income on a regular basis without any requirements.
The Act reads:
This enactment requires the Minister of Finance to develop a national framework to provide all persons over the age of 17 in Canada with access to a guaranteed livable basic income. It also provides for reporting requirements with respect to the framework.
Whereas every person should have access to a livable basic income;
Whereas the provision of a guaranteed livable basic income would go a long way toward eradicating poverty and improving income equality, health conditions and educational outcomes;
Whereas the provision of a guaranteed livable basic income would benefit individuals, families and communities and protect those who are made most vulnerable in society, while facilitating the transition to an economy that responds to the climate crisis and other current major challenges;
And whereas a guaranteed livable basic income program implemented through a national framework would ensure the respect, dignity and security of all persons in Canada;
While the basis of the Bill seems to be well intended, serious questions must be asked such as:
- How much will this cost?
- How will it be paid for?
- Will this result in an increased tax burden for those not on UBI?
- Will this result in increased debt?
- While no conditions are listed in the Bill now, could conditions be added in the future?
- Does this program compliment a social credit system?
- Would such a program encourage people to choose to not work?
Despite many rumours flying around the internet, this Bill DOES NOT mandate acceptance of medical procedures as a condition of receiving the benefit. Read the full text. Whether this could be a condition added at a later time, remains to be seen.