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Recovery Universal Basic Income is a Raise for All Canadians

This crisis has revealed that our economy is broken.

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.

Canadians don’t need another short-term fix. We need a permanent solution for our economy.

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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.

Sign the Petition for Recovery UBI

Recovery Universal Basic Income is a Raise for All Canadians

When’s the last time you had a raise?

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.

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When’s the last time you had a raise?

Truck Drivers

Median-wage truck driver making $40,000 a year would receive a 15% raise to $46,000.  Truck driving jobs will soon be automated.

Part time single mom in retail

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.

Entrepreneurs & Innovators

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”.

Getting People Off Social Assistance

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.

Middle Manager at a Large Company

A manager making $60,000 a year would receive a 12.6% raise of $6,000 to $66,600 a year.

For Students

Students not receiving an income could focus on school with the full $24,000 income guarantee, increasing graduation rates.

For Seniors

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.

Understanding Recovery UBI

The economy is broken; fewer and fewer jobs pay enough for a decent life, because technology is cheaper than workers.  As a result, we have been polarizing: the middle is shrinking while a growing share of Canadians are working in low-income jobs. Economic and productivity growth is no longer driving improvement in incomes and quality of life the way they used to.

We can fix the economy by giving everyone a raise from the riches technology is creating, and giving those who need it most a bigger raise.   This raise will be key to a more fair and fast post-pandemic economic recovery. If we don’t do this now, the recovery will leave people worse off than before—just like previous recoveries.

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.

The Canada Child Benefit Proves Recovery UBI Will Work

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.

  • CCB contributes $46B annually to the Canadian economy – exceeding the economy of Nova Scotia
  • CCB related spending drives $85B / year in revenues & 18B in gross profits to businesses
  • 453,000 full time equivalent jobs are contributed by the CCB, 2.5% of the Canadian labor force
  • Every dollar invested drives $2 of GDP and more than 55 cents of it recouped in taxes from economic activity
  • Drives $4 of GDP for every dollar it costs
  • Has caused $27B in private capital investment and and $77B in wage growth since inception
  • The CCB keeps 588,000 children and 250,000 families out of poverty & raises family incomes of another 750,000 children above $20k/yr
  • It Grew the middle class: median incomes for families with one child up by almost $4,000 / year and families with four children up by nearly 19,00
Recovery UBI is 6 times bigger than the Canada Child Benefit in terms of net cost—imagine the outsized impact it could have.

Learn More About Recovery UBI

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.

UBI fixes capitalism while a BIG solves poverty

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.

UBI Works is a Canadian non-profit organization with the goal of making Universal Basic Income a permanent reality for all Canadians.

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.

In 2018, UBI Works led a group of over 120 CanadianCEOs, representing over $2.3 billion in annual revenue, to sign a statement in support of basic income

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Our Mission

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.

Our Why

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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