Organizations are coming together in a common alliance for all of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspesie, and Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and are wanting to test a basic income guarantee in all of these regions for 20 years.
They would like to know if the health of the inhabitants will improve if everyone has access to a guaranteed basic income. It would replace social aid and would stack on top of retirement income for the elderly.
The idea is to first measure how much it costs to feed, clothe, house, move around and communicate in each of the regional county municipalities. Once this amount is determined, income will be distributed to everyone every two weeks in the form of a negative income tax. The annual amount would be based on a recipient’s declared annual income. Past around $40,000, one would no longer be a beneficiary. Whereas a person with $0 in income would receive $17,500, and someone who makes $35,000 would receive approximately $300 for the year.
The goal is to guarantee an income floor for everyone, whether disease strikes or if a person wants to change careers.
“The experiments done around the world have always given results that go along the same direction: reducing mortality, violence, urgent care visits, hospitalizations, etc.” says Yv Bonnier Viger, the director of public health in Gaspesie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
According to him and according to basic income proponents, it was also demonstrated that those who receive a basic income don’t “enrich” themselves and don’t stop working. In fact, the contrary was observed.
Once social aid and other programs are replaced, the project will cost an estimated $800 million, but this amount is expected to diminish over time.
The alliance wishes for now to start with 2 or 3 years. Afterwards, the pilot project could take place for 20 years.