Economic Development News & Insight


Canada needs universal income now!

Angela Thibert / January 11, 2017

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Canada needs universal income now!

Having a paycheck that is guaranteed no matter what sounds nice, right? It may be time to move to Finland.

Finland has started a “radical experiment” that will give participants $587 every month whether or not the participant works.  It will run for two years, and if successful Finland will extend it to all other adult citizens.

This experiment may seem radical, but it is not the first of its kind; guaranteed income has already been tried on a smaller scale. Canada has already tried this idea more than 40 years ago. Back in the 1970’s, a small town in Manitoba participated in a similar experiment called “Mincome.”

In Dauphin, Manitoba, the poorest residents were given a cheque each month to see if the money would decrease participants’ motivation to work.  The project was a huge success and eliminated poverty for the five years it ran. It stood out from similar programs in North America because it included seniors and people living with disabilities. Unfortunately, the program was stopped when the Conservatives took power in 1977. Today Ontario has started to adopt a similar program.

A universal basic income program has many benefits and having one nationwide would lead to greater security, save money, lead to better jobs, and improve our health.

Overall, having a minimum income guaranteed for everyone would be a game changer. As seen by “Mincome,” universal basic income can come with a lot of benefits. We now have the chance to follow Finland’s lead, and adopt their ideas here to strengthen our economy and make Canada accessible to all.

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