March 26, 2020 | UBI Works

UPDATE:

Canadians Asked for an Emergency Basic Income, and Our Leaders Responded.

On March 25th, Trudeau announced an emergency basic income of $2,000/month over the next 4 months for Canadians who lost income as a result of the crisis. The difference between this program and the list of government supports that were initially announced last week is clear evidence that the 30,000 people who signed our petition across all 338 ridings made a difference. The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a single, unified program for nearly all Canadians whose incomes were affected by this crisis. It is designed to be simple, fast and streamlined – all features we asked for.

This was in no small part because in the intervening week, every MP in the country was receiving daily emails from advocates, telling them that the scaled up, ad hoc, existing programs simply were not enough to cover the immediate needs of Canadians. That is why even those workers who are waiting for an EI application to be processed are going to be switched over to the CERB. Despite calls for one time payments, our argument for the security of a recurring payment prevailed – putting to rest the fear that the bills won’t be paid next month.  

Because of our supporters, the government realized this week that the basic income model is the quickest most efficient way to get cash into the hands of Canadians who need it. 

For details of the program, including who qualifies, please read the government’s announcement here and check the Canada Revenue Agency website in the coming days. 

This is not the unconditional basic income that we asked for. The CERB on its own is not an economic stimulus that will help in our country’s economic recovery. We still do not know the precise conditions of the program, how accessible it will be, or how it will function. As such, we will await the details of the program to determine how we can best advocate for the many Canadians that still need help right now. 

The CERB is only designed to support working Canadians who saw their income fall because of the pandemic. It is likely that even the broad definitions of the conditions will still exclude some Canadians and we will continue to work, with your help, to ensure every Canadian is supported in this troubling time. 

 

The other steps that the government has taken, including increasing the Canada Child Benefit and GST Credit, as well as additional programs for vulnerable populations is a step in the right direction. But imagine if these programs weren’t needed…

 

What if the CERB did not end in 4 months? 

  • In 1944, the government introduced the Family Allowance as a temporary measure. 76 years later we still have it (renamed: Canada Child Benefit), and it has been shown to grow our economy, create jobs, and lift Canadians out of poverty. In 2020, the government introduced the CERB as a temporary measure. Together we can ensure this too isn’t temporary. 

 

What if everyone received it? 

  • It would actually stimulate the economy. People who weren’t able to spend before would now be able to, generating additional economic activity and supporting businesses everywhere.
  • We would ensure that no Canadian would fall through the cracks, allowing us to eradicate poverty, improve health outcomes, and minimize the burden on our healthcare system.
  • Every Canadian would be granted the freedom to plan long-term and to become more active members of their communities, whether they choose to start a business, pursue education, volunteer, start a family, or look after a loved one.

 

What if you already had it?

  • We wouldn’t have seen weeks of bickering and stalled negotiations in our government. We would have received help immediately. The effects on business and families wouldn’t have been nearly as bad. 

 

Our pledge is to continue to work to make these possibilities a reality. In the coming weeks and months, we will need all the help we can get to make that so. Please share the video above on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Join our social media group at UBI Workers. 

 

Together we can make sure every Canadian is prepared to meet the challenges of the coming months and years. 

 

The  Team

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit canada.ca/coronavirus.

If you have questions, you can also call the Government of Canada info line, open 7 am to midnight, 7 days a week, at 1-833-784-4397.

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