Poverty and inequality are not inevitable. It’s time for a basic income for all Canadians, to ensure that everyone is able to meet their most essential needs in our country. My plan is to establish a taxable basic income supplement that will serve as a top-up aimed at helping low-income Canadians to reach the “low-income cut-off” (LICO) line.
A basic income is a big, bold investment, but in the long run it will actually save us money. It's estimated that poverty costs our economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year, on top of the $7.6B it costs our healthcare system annually. Less poverty means less stress on healthcare, social programs and public safety resources.
Seventy percent (70%) of Canadians living in poverty are considered working poor - that is, people who are working, but aren’t earning enough to make ends meet. My basic income is about giving hardworking people opportunities to succeed that they may never otherwise have had. It’s just good public policy, since investing in Canadians gives them the tools to participate fully in society and achieve financial independence.
Who is eligible?
Every single Canadian from coast to coast to coast who is living below the LICO line in their region.
What about indigenous people, students, seniors, veterans and permanent residents?
Yep - everyone.
What does this plan mean for other social programs?
The basic income will be joined with the Canada Childcare Benefit (CCB) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to extend its coverage to all Canadians who fall below the LICO line.
All other social programs will remain intact. Federal disability programs - including those delivered through the Canada Pension Plan, and those pertaining to children and veterans - will remain intact. Naturally, the provinces and territories will continue to be responsible for the delivery of their own services.
What is the LICO line?
The LICO line is different in every part of the country, according to community size. It's defined by Statistics Canada as “income thresholds below which a family will likely devote a larger share of its income on the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family”. In other words, if an individual or family must devote at least 20 percent more of their income to food, shelter and clothing than the average, they would fall below the LICO line and qualify for a federal basic income.