Episode 11: Myth-busting Basic Income

27 April 2022

In this episode, Jaclyn Silbernagel sits down with Lee Stevens, policy and research specialist with Vibrant Communities Calgary to explore basic income. What a basic income could mean for Canadians and how it could have a positive impact on our social support systems.

Published 27 April 2022

Updated 27 April 2022

This episode of Let's Talk Poverty does some myth-busting about basic income, talks about why it’s important now and discusses why such a bold approach could work. It examines some misconceptions and offers some insight into why this discussion is relevant now.

In this episode

  • Learn more about why basic income is an attractive model for making changes to income support systems.
  • Demystify basic income and understand how evidence shows it’s not a disincentive to work. Based on Canada’s Mincome experiment in the 1970s, the only reduction in labour was young males who went back to school and young mothers who wanted to care for their children for a longer period of time. The Ontario pilot in 2018 produced similar results.
  • How existing benefits like the Canada Child benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement are working models for a basic income.

Three key takeaways

  • Considerations of incremental and bold approaches to basic income, and how misinformation may have people mistaking basic income for something it isn’t – it isn’t a replacement for the entire social support system, it’s one possible component that could have a major impact.
  • Understanding some similarities in how we arrived at a universal health care system and what we can learn when it comes to basic income.
  • Some insight into why basic income continues to be on the minds of Canadians.

Additional Resources

Join Basic Income Alberta. Also, connect with the Basic Income Canada Network, the Basic Income Canada Youth Network, Coalition Canada, and UBI Works.

About Lee Stevens

Lee Stevens is the policy and research specialist at Vibrant Communities Calgary. Lee has worked as a Social Worker in Calgary since 2006, for organizations such as the Calgary Drop-in Centre, CUPS, and Alberta Health Services. Lee completed her Bachelor's and later her Master's of Social Work at the University of Calgary. She has provided leadership and support to several groups advancing the Enough for All strategy such as the Indigenous Gathering Place, Basic Income Alberta, the Alberta Living Wage Network and the Calgary Social Policy Collaborative. She has expert knowledge of basic income, living wage, and the impact of social assistance programs.

About Vibrant Communities Calgary

Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC) advocates for long-term strategies that address the root causes of poverty in Calgary. VCC is the steward of Calgary's community-owned poverty reduction strategy, Enough for All. VCC actively guides the implementation of the strategy through advocacy and policy, and by working with community members, organizations and Enough for All Champions.

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