OTTAWA – This morning, NDP MP Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) introduced a private member’s bill to develop a national framework for a permanent Guaranteed Livable Basic Income (GLBI) in Canada. Gazan says, as the pandemic continues, it’s never been clearer that people in Canada need financial support and a stronger social safety net.
“Since the pandemic began more people are living in poverty, while the wealthiest have become even richer. It’s shameful that the government is standing by and letting this happen,” said Gazan. “This bill is a response to calls for a guaranteed livable basic income from Indigenous, territorial, provincial and municipal jurisdictions who clearly recognize the need to modernize our social safety net. A GLBI is not only good for our economy but also critical to ensure that all individuals are able to live with dignity and security – rights afforded in the Canadian Charter.”
Gazan is proposing a GLBI for all people living in Canada over the age of 17 regardless of participation in the workforce or an educational training program. Regional differences in the cost of living are considerations addressed in the bill and there are provisions to ensure a GLBI would not mean clawbacks to services or benefits meant to meet an individual’s exceptional needs related to health or disability.
NDP critic for finance, Daniel Blaikie, joined Gazan to speak to media about the important initiative.
“While many factors contribute to the problem of poverty, there is no way to solve the problem without ensuring people have a liveable income,” said Blaikie. “The pandemic has shown how fragile our collective and personal economic well-being truly is… but it also showed that, when we work together, we have the power to provide financial security and dignity to our fellow Canadians. Leah’s bill would make income security a fundamental part of Canada’s economic framework grounded in respect for the rights and dignity of human beings. I am proud to second her bill and call on Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast to support this initiative for social and economic justice.”
Besides helping everyday families cover the cost of rent, food and other expenses, Gazan says a GLBI would help to protect people who are made most vulnerable by systems in our society.
“This isn’t just good financial policy; there is a direct correlation between increased rates of violence and poverty,” said Gazan. “The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls for a guaranteed livable basic income as a critical, life-saving measure for Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit individuals. If the government is serious about reconciliation, they need to get this done.”
Advocacy groups like Basic Income Manitoba, Coalition Canada and Basic Income Canada Youth Network have also expressed support for Gazan’s bill.