It is time to transform our social safety net to meet the demands of our transformed society. Greens have pressed for Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI) for years. Other terms have been used (Universal Basic Income), but the goal is similar. We believe in the importance of a universal payment set at a level that fits each region’s specific cost of living. This will eliminate poverty by providing all Canadians with an income that covers the cost of basic needs.
As numerous studies have shown, poverty costs a society. It costs in health care. It costs in correctional services. It costs in a loss of human dignity. We cannot afford poverty.
We need to build on and institutionalize the greater collaboration across orders of government we experienced in the pandemic. A more just society requires a Council of Canadian Governments made in four quadrants: federal; provincial and territorial; local; and Indigenous. The Council must set the relative GLI and identify shame-based programs to be eliminated across government to make the system affordable.
This has started with the nearly universal access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
We also need to build on and institutionalize the greater collaboration across orders of government we experienced in the pandemic.
- As a first step, convert CERB to GLI.
- Establish a Council of Canadian Governments made up of four quadrants: federal; provincial and territorial; local; and Indigenous. The Council must set the relative GLI and identify current income assistance and support programs which could be replaced by GLI. This would reduce administration costs and make the system affordable.
- Lessons learned from the COVID-19 student payments teach us that we need affordable, if not free, post-secondary education, and protections (financial, health and otherwise) for international students. As part of the solution, students will be covered by GLI.
- Collaborate to establish a fair, national minimum wage.
- Champion an economy that is just and caring, one not blind to gender or race, thus eliminating structural bias. For example, an economy committed to pay equity.
- We need to value the contribution that each and every individual makes to our society.