As we reach depression-era levels of joblessness, millions of Canadians will not have jobs to go back to after we emerge from lockdown. Many working Canadians will not see their incomes recover to what they were before the recession, and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will not be a justifiable long-term answer for our nation’s recovery.
Over 40% of recent layoffs could result in permanent job losses and it could take more than a decade to recover. Meanwhile, 8 in 10 Canadians have 3 months of savings or less. As consumer spending drives nearly 2/3 of our economy, many businesses will continue to suffer for years.
We urge the Government of Canada to make $2,000/month a new income floor for all Canadians, decreasing as earned income grows, to a minimum of $500/month as a dividend for all Canadians earning over$36,000/year. As technology and automation continue to depress wages, a Recovery UBI will give all Canadians a much-needed raise while supporting Canadian business owners across the country.
Companies have not only laid off workers—many have also permanently closed. Businesses are replacing jobs with modern software and hardware automation at an unprecedented pace in order to survive. In the last 3recessions, nearly 90% of jobs lost were easy to automate. Meanwhile, employers are finding workers to be more expensive than existing technologies, which can already automate 4 in 10 tasks Canadians do at work today.
Previous economic recoveries have been highly polarized in ways that are un-Canadian, leaving most Canadians worse off while working harder and longer than generations in the past. Over the last 40 years, growth in the economy has gone mostly to the highest earners, while a growing number of Canadians work in low-income jobs.
This recession will accelerate the widening inequality, as Canadians with low-incomes suffer the greatest losses and those with high incomes remain relatively unaffected.
We cannot have a fast and equitable recovery when the share of our nation’s income going to the bottom half of Canadian earners continues to fall, while technology continues to push income away from workers and towards capital holders.
This time we can do better.
A Recovery UBI recognizes the changing relationship between work, capital, and technology by putting money directly into the hands ofCanadians and allowing each of us to share in the vast wealth that technology is creating.
UBI is not social assistance. It is not a handout or a form of charity. It is how Canadians across the country can reclaim their slice of the economic pie. This is why a Recovery UBI should be the same amount paid to all working and retirement age Canadians on top of—rather than replacing—existing social assistance.
Recovery UBI is an important foundation for a future of abundance and opportunity for all. It ensures that as we emerge from this crisis, all Canadians can play their part in our nation’s recovery.
We call on the Government of Canada and all opposition parties to support a better and faster post-pandemic economic recovery by implementing a Recovery Universal Basic Income upon which Canadians can build better incomes, better careers, and better businesses.
It is urgent that we do this.
Recovery UBI is a $500 / month universal dividend for every adult. The amount increases to a $2,000/month guaranteed income to ensure every Canadian is making more than $24,000/year. For families, two adults receive a $1,000 that increases to $3,121 to ensure every family is making more than $37,456 /year.
If you’re one of 8M Canadians on the CERB, Recovery UBI will buy you time you need to sort out your life and find better work than you had before. This is particularly urgent for you if you’re among
the 4 in 10 recent layoffs expected NOT to be hired back, given that the recovery to pre-pandemic levels is predicted to take as
much as 10 years.
Median-wage truck driver making $40,000 a year would receive a 15% raise to $46,000. Truck driving jobs will soon be automated.
A retail worker only able to work part time due to child care needs at $20,000 a year would receive a 70% raise to $34,000 a year.
An entrepreneur driving an Uber part-time making $28,000 while building their business could see an increase of 35% to $38,000 a year. Some entrepreneurs may simply live off $2,000/month with no income as they build their startups, which is why Y Combinator’s Sam Altman calls UBI “seed funding for the people”.
All Canadians can exit social assistance and re-enter the work force with a $2,000 income guarantee that they can keep in part when they go back to work and use as they re-train for the jobs needed today.
A manager making $60,000 a year would receive a 12.6% raise of $6,000 to $66,600 a year.
Students not receiving an income could focus on school with the full $24,000 income guarantee, increasing graduation rates.
All Seniors would be better off as a $24,000 minimum annual income for individuals and $37,000 for house holds is higher than and replaces OAS/GIS. This is also an income you can build off, should you want to continue working or making other contributions to Canadian society.
The $500 dividend and $2,000 minimum floor which make up the Recovery UBI will ensure a fairer and faster post-pandemic recovery from the bottom up. In our plan, all Canadians have a universal dividend of $500 a month, increasing for those who need it most.
Individual earners make another 50 cents for every dollar less than $36,000 a year to a maximum of $2,000 a month—ending working poverty
Joint-filing house holds who can combine living expenses receive a $1,000 universal dividend and make another 50 cents for every dollar under $50,900 to a minimum guaranteed income of $37,452 month—supporting families.
Recovery UBI will usher in a more fair and fast economic recovery that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs by stimulating consumer confidence and driving job-creating revenue for businesses. When our economy is driven 2/3 by consumer spending, how can we NOT afford to do this?
The proof is visible within our own families. The Canada Child Benefit is Canada’s national scale Basic Income for people with children, received by 67% of Canadian families.
How you pay for it depends on what problems you want to solve.
A basic income in Canada is affordable, but how it can be paid for depends on what problems you want to solve, which is very much a question of one’s personal identity and value system. Ending poverty and bringing about human-centered capitalism where job-displacing technology pays you a dividend could be part of a package of reforms that appeal to both right- and left-wing values alike.
What problem does a basic income solve?
An income floor style basic income ends poverty, while a universal basic income fixes capitalism.
The word “basic income” is often used to refer to both types of programs, but they solve different problems for different people. In this article, we differentiate the two and show how a combination of both may be the best way forward for Canada at this time, as proposed by UBIWorks’ Recovery UBI for a fairer and faster post-pandemic economic recovery.
On March 16, 2020, UBI Works launched a petition calling for an emergency UBI in response to theCOVID-19 crisis. The petition garnered over 30,000signatures across all 338 federal ridings, with each signer emailing their Member of Parliament to call for a UBI.
The Government of Canada responded by announcingthe Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), ashort-term basic income for Canadians who lostincome due to COVID-19, in addition to a one-time GSTcredit of $400 per individual ($600 per couple) for low-and moderate-income Canadians, as well as a $300boost to the Canada Child Benefit basic income.
This pandemic showed us that Canadians need aUniversal Basic Income.
We are aware that these measures, while they help many Canadians, still leave many others out. From day one, the CERB left out more than 850,000Canadians, 1/3 of the unemployed, who had no income support from either EI or the CERB. The government expanded the eligibility criteria after weeks of constant pressure from Canadians to move towards a universal basic income. This pandemic has shown us that Canadians are not resilient enough in a time of crisis. Many of us who lost work from this crisis may find ourselves not hired back, or going back to lower paying work. An estimated 15% of the over 15 million workingCanadians—more than 2 million Canadians in total—will soon find themselves without work. Yet, research shows that 42% of the Canadian workforce is at high risk of being automated away—using existing technology—over the next 10-20 years. If we already had a universal basic income, noCanadian would have fallen through the cracks during this crisis. Millions of Canadians would not have needed to wait weeks, perhaps months, before getting the help they needed.
To shift the conversation about basic income to recognize it as an economic need and economic opportunity, with the goal of seeing UBI implemented in Canada.
We want a Canada where everyone can pursue their potential and not be held back by basic material constraints or unsafe environments.
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