Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan is calling on the federal government to support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic through a Universal Basic Income.
Khan stated, “I support many of the measures announced by the federal government yesterday. This is a good foundation upon which to tackle this crisis but we will need a bolder policy response in the coming weeks.
“That is why we are calling on the federal government to implement a temporary Universal Basic Income (UBI) of $1500 a month per Canadian adult and $500 per child. This UBI should not be means-tested. In this current situation, past earnings are not going to reliably indicate who needs fiscal support.
“Yesterday’s federal announcements are a step in the right direction, but Canadians will need more support than this as the situation inevitably worsens. A UBI will provide more robust and comprehensive support, instead of a patchwork scheme of many income supplements and EI programs, which could exclude those who need it the most. A UBI is the best policy option, and much easier for Canadians to navigate. It is fast, simple, effective, broad and flexible.”
“This funding will help Canadians weather the storm that is coming. It will also have incidental economic benefits that will complement the federal government’s direct business stimulus plans. Additionally, it will relieve pressure on Canadians who should be self-isolating but are reluctant to do so for financial reasons, which in turn will slow the spread of COVID-19.
“In crisis situations, we need to move boldly and we need to move quickly. A temporary UBI is gaining traction as a policy solution with experts. It is not the only policy tool at the government’s disposal, but it may be the most powerful. We hope the federal government gives it consideration as they move forward in dealing with this crisis.
“The federal government should take the lead on this, and allow the provinces to focus on our health care systems. However, if the federal government will not implement a temporary UBI, then the Alberta government should consider implementing a reduced version to add to the income supplements the federal government has put forward.”
You can learn more about our proposal here.