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These are scary and uncertain times. We do not know how long the pandemic will last. We do not know which workplaces will reopen and which will stay closed. On top of the concerns for our health and communities, so many of us don’t know how we will earn an income in the year ahead.
Right now, 6 million Canadians are receiving a basic income of $2,000/month from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It runs out in 16 weeks. The question being asked by 6 million Canadians is: what then? Will the government announce another temporary program or extend the current one? Will the amounts stay the same or go down? Will I have to go on welfare?
The answer is we do not know. That uncertainty is bad for everyone.
We do know the economy will be bad. Millions of Canadians may not have a job to return to. Canadian banks are predicting that the economy will shrink by a fifth through the summer. Businesses that are managing to stay open are cutting costs and automating – meaning fewer employees are needed. That is why the majority of Canadian businesses believe they will need to lay off even more employees in the coming months. Temporary layoffs will become permanent.
None of us want to apply for government help every month. Worrying about paying the bills or applying for social assistance is not a recipe for anyone to get back on their feet.
It doesn’t need to be this way and it shouldn’t.
Canada could have a Universal Basic Income (UBI); a guaranteed income for everyone, an income you can keep (in part) when you go back to work. No forms, no special criteria, no questions, no uncertainty.
A UBI is something you can count on. It is the guarantee you need to make plans beyond the pandemic and pursue better work afterwards.
UBI Works is committed to making this happen – but we need you. We need thousands of Canadians to come together, to take small actions, to make their voices heard, and spread the word just as we did decades ago in the fight for Universal Healthcare.
Will you be a part of it? Will you convince someone else to join you?
Now is the time. Share this with your friends and family, get them to sign up with us. We will need everyone in the days ahead.
On March 16, 2020, UBI Works launched a petition calling for an Emergency UBI in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The petition garnered over 30,000 signatures across all 338 federal ridings, with each signer emailing their Member of Parliament to call for a UBI.
The Government of Canada responded by announcing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a short-term basic income for Canadians who lost income due to COVID-19, in addition to a one-time GST credit of $400 per individual ($600 per couple) for low-and moderate-income Canadians, as well as a $300 boost to the Canada Child Benefit basic income.
This pandemic showed us that Canadians need a Universal Basic Income.
We are aware that these measures, while they help many Canadians, still leave many others out. From day one, the CERB left out more than 850,000 Canadians, 1/3 of the unemployed, who had no income support from either EI or the CERB. The government expanded the eligibility criteria after weeks of constant pressure from Canadians to move towards a universal basic income. This pandemic has shown us that Canadians are not resilient enough in a time of crisis. Many of us who lost work from this crisis may find ourselves not hired back, or going back to lower paying work. An estimated 15% of the over 15 million working Canadians—more than 2 million Canadians in total—will soon find themselves without work. Yet, research shows that 42% of the Canadian workforce is at high risk of being automated away—using existing technology—over the next 10-20 years. If we already had a universal basic income, no Canadian would have fallen through the cracks during this crisis. Millions of Canadians would not have needed to wait weeks, perhaps months, before getting the help they needed.
Join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on how we are working to make Universal BasicIncome a reality in Canada.