Landmark Report: A vision for a poverty-free PEI

November 22, 2023

Being a Basic Income advocate in this country sometimes means getting excited about a report. Today is one such day! Released this morning, A Proposal for a GBI Benefit in PEI represents one of the most concrete and cleareyed steps towards Basic Income in years; and an exemplar for all other provinces and territories to emulate.

Prince Edward Island has been leading the charge for Basic Income in Canada for a long time. In 2020, a cross-party committee tabled a report recommending the immediate implementation of a basic income guarantee; a call which was then adopted by the legislature and later reaffirmed by all party leaders in a joint letter.  

In response, a unique working group of economists, public servants, politicians, and advocates from PEI and across the country, took up the challenge of fleshing out all the hard questions that can sometimes stunt goodwill and good ideas. Many hard years of work later and we now have the answers, a plan, and a vision for the first jurisdiction to eradicate deep poverty in Canada.

If you like details, I encourage you to check out the executive summary or read the report in full, but here is what we think are the critical findings:

  • This provincial benefit would be available to all aged 18-64, decrease the poverty rate from 10% to 2%, and eliminate deep poverty.
  • The benefit would provide a maximum of 85% of the poverty line: $19,252 for a single adult or $27,227 for a family of two adults. This would be reduced by fifty cents for every dollar earned.
  • Some benefit amount would therefore be received by nearly 40% of Islanders.
  • Using the slightly more specific concept of ‘Census Family’ (a married or common law couple living together, and including any of their children) to administer the benefit means that adult children living at their parents home are not eligible and therefore the total cost of the program drops by 38%.
  • The gross cost of $189 million could be fully financed in partnership with the federal government and moderate tax increases. A significant portion of this cost would be offset through reductions to other benefits and the numerous long term savings.

Perhaps most important of all, this report lays out an exceptionally clear framework for implementing a permanent or minimum five-year long province-wide, demonstration program. This would serve to showcase Basic Income’s efficacy and allow for the opportunity to iron out any kinks arising from its implementation.

This report is exactly what is needed to get the government moving on Basic Income. Our congratulations to its authors, and those who contributed to this essential report.

Visit the PEI Basic Income Report website and stay tuned for a call to action for how we can turn these recommendations into reality.

Floyd Marinescu,

Founder of UBI Works


Check out our coverage of this PEI Report launch on X, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

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To shift the conversation about basic income to recognize it as an economic need and economic opportunity, with the goal of seeing UBI implemented in Canada.

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