Will The Basic Income Experiment Work In Canada?
“Welfare programmes keep people trapped in poverty
People in the trial are to receive C$1,320 (around US$970) per month, equivalent to three-quarters of what is defined as a low income (although the amount and the number if people it will be given to are still under discussion, albeit that the government has budgeted C$25million for three years). Depending on how the trial is designed, the recipients may continue to get that amount regardless of whether they find work and earn extra money. In any case, the government will guarantee that those people will always have an income of at least that amount, one way or another.
‘One of the problems we have with existing systems is that if someone does find work, there will be a clawback of benefits, not just financial benefits, but things like free medical care and housing support,’ Hugh Segal, a former senator and basic income advocate who wrote the study on which the trial is being based, told Apolitical. ‘You end up with the contradiction that welfare programmes keep people trapped in poverty. So the challenge becomes: can you craft a programme that has a better impact than that?’
It also implies an altered view of humanity itself. Instead of traditional welfare systems, which assume that the poor are fundamentally lazy and have to be incentivised to work with an intricate system of carrots and sticks, basic income assumes that if you support people, they will go on to greater things.