An OTL BONUS: Is NOW a good time to talk about a Basic Income?

On The Ledge

07-04-2023 • 31 mins

The On the Ledge crew is taking the week off for the Good Friday holiday. But, we've got a great panel assembled to talk about the need for some form of a basic, guaranteed income.

This is an episode of The 2030 Project - a podcast series produced for the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto recorded in May 2022 and was released November 9, 2022.

This week, Daily Bread released the latest stats on food bank visits in Toronto. They have hit an all-time high since the Daily Bread opened its doors forty years ago.

There were more than 270 thousand visits to Toronto food banks in the month of March 2023. That's more than four times the number of monthly visits prior to the pandemic. Daily Bread CEO Neil Hetherington is calling on the province to reinstate the emergency income supports that were extended to Ontarians on social support in the early months of the pandemic.

It occurs to us that this is a good time to revisit a serious discussion about the need for a basic, guaranteed income.

The COVID experience made it abundantly clear that the federal CERB program rescued millions of Canadians from the economic disaster brought on by the pandemic lockdowns. Yes, there were problems, considering the speed with which the program had to be rolled out. But it is undeniable that $2000 a month for those in need kept families and businesses afloat in the face of an economic disaster.

Why waste a good crisis? How has the COVID experience affected the narrative about a stable income “floor” for all Canadians?

Joining us around the table for this episode of the 2030 Project are John Wright, SVP at Maru Public Opinion. Sheila Regehr chairs the Basic Income Canada Network and Evelyn Forget is an economist and professor in community health sciences at the University of Manitoba.

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