Community Agencies Support Research on an Alberta Guaranteed Basic Income

News Release

2 May 2019

News Release

For immediate release

May 2, 2019, Calgary, AB – New research from the University of Calgary-School of Public Policy, An Alberta Guarantee Basic Income: Issues and options by Wayne Simpson and Harvey Stevens looks at the feasibility of a basic income guarantee in the Alberta context.  The proposal demonstrates that a basic income could be achieved through modest changes to tax policy.  Unlike the Ontario basic income experiment, it would be financed through the elimination of non-refundable tax credits, with no new expenses.

In Alberta and across Canada, income poverty remains an issue. If implemented, this proposal would reduce overall poverty in Alberta by nearly a quarter, eliminate income poverty for single parents, and increase the incomes of nearly 40 per cent of Albertan families, all without necessitating new funding or an increase to income tax rates.

The Social Policy Collaborative’s response to the report is available online.

When evaluated against the principles of Basic income Calgary, the only formalized group of advocates for a basic income in Alberta, the proposal does not fully align with the principle of adequacy, as it does not succeed in lifting all Albertans out of poverty.  The proposal does, however, meet many of the principles of a successful basic income approach: it would be delivered on an individual basis, it would be delivered unconditionally and without any behavioral criteria, it would significantly improve the condition of Alberta’s most vulnerable, and it would not disrupt the existing social-supports system.

“This proposal is an important contribution to the growing body of research on the feasibility of basic income in Canada,” said Franco Savoia, Executive Director, Vibrant Communities Calgary. “The proposed approach to basic income would provide an important and pragmatic step to reducing poverty throughout our province. Effectively reducing poverty can provide both a social and economic benefit in Alberta”.