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Demand Universal Basic Income for a Fair and Fast Recovery

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Demand Universal Basic Income for a Fair and Fast Recovery

This crisis will leave most Canadians worse off.

As we emerge from lockdown, millions of Canadians won’t have jobs to go back to. Many will not see their incomes recover to what they were before. Like previous recessions, there will be fewer middle-class and more low-pay jobs, and the end of CERB will leave millions of Canadians worse off.

Canadians don't have much time: 4 in 10 recent layoffs could be permanent, and it could take more than a decade to recover. Meanwhile, 8 in 10 Canadians have 3 months of savings or less. As consumer spending drives nearly 2/3 of our economy, many businesses will continue to suffer for years.

Canadians don’t need another short-term fix. We need a permanent solution for our economy.

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We urge the Government of Canada to implement Recovery UBI, a permanent $500/month universal dividend, which increases to guarantee each individual an income of $2,000/month and for families, $1,500/month per adult.  It will give all Canadians a raise while supporting businesses and creating jobs immediately.

Companies have not only laid off workers—many have permanently closed. Businesses that survive must do so by replacing good paying jobs with software and hardware automation.

Previous economic recoveries have been highly polarized in ways that are un-Canadian, wiping out middle-class jobs and pushing more Canadians into low-income jobs. This time, businesses are accelerating their investments into automation, which can already replace 4 in 10 tasks Canadians do at work today.

Technology enables wealth to be created with less human work, decreasing the share of that wealth that ends up as income for working Canadians. As a result, the past 40 years of growth in the economy has gone mostly to the highest earners.

But this, time we can do better.

Recovery UBI recognizes that jobs aren't working for most people. Canadians are working harder and longer than the last generation, and getting less in return. Incomes are not keeping up with costs of living, because technology is cheaper than workers. Technology is slicing the traditional job into gig and part-time jobs with no benefits and no security.

Recovery UBI addresses these trends by giving each of us a share of our economy, a basis for shared prosperity as we experience rapid and disruptive automationIt buys us time by keeping us out of poverty, so we can retrain and develop our skills as we transition to the jobs of tomorrow.

UBI is not social assistance. It is not a handout or a form of charity. It is how Canadians across the country can reclaim their slice of the economic pie. UBI is how we defend upward mobility and pathways into the middle-class for everyone.

Recovery UBI is an important foundation for a future of abundance and opportunity for all. It is how we plant the seeds for new jobs and new businesses to be created as we emerge from this crisis. It ensures all Canadians can play a part in our nation's recovery.

We call on the Government of Canada and all opposition parties to support a better and faster post-pandemic economic recovery by implementing a Recovery Universal Basic Income upon which Canadians can build better incomes, better careers, and better businesses.

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Learn More About Recovery UBI

How Does Recovery UBI Impact You?

When’s the last time you had a raise?

Recovery UBI is a $500/month payment to every adult (known as a universal dividend), which increases to guarantee each individual an income of a $2,000/month (the guaranteed minimum income, or GMI) for those who need it the most—so that every Canadian makes at least $24,000/year. Individuals residing with family get a guaranteed minimum income of $1,500/month, or $18,000/year.

If you're one of 8 million Canadians on the CERB, Recovery UBI will buy you the time you need to find opportunity in a post-pandemic economy. Recovery to pre-pandemic levels is predicted to take as much as 10 years. If you are among the 4 in 10 recent layoffs expected NOT to be hired back, adopting this program is urgent.

9 Ways to Pay for UBI

UBI is affordable.
It's merely a matter of political will.

UBI Works has put together 9 different options to pay for Recovery UBI. It is fully possible to pay for a basic income without raising personal income taxes, without eliminating social programs, and without adding to the national debt.

These 9 funding plans are drawn from a list of $874B in funding proposals collected from ideas across the political spectrum. Basic Income isn’t left or right, if we choose the right way to pay for it.

Why Now?

Recovery UBI: we can reclaim prosperity

A universal dividend (UBI) gives you a share of the economy, letting us share in the value that technology is creating, while a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) buys you time by keeping you out of poverty, as you transition into the new economy. Recovery UBI delivers BOTH, and this article explains why.  

Our economy is leaving most Canadians worse off. Jobs aren't working for most people, because wages are not growing faster than costs of living. A key reason is that technology is cheaper than workers. We can fix this—and reclaim our prosperity—with Recovery UBI.

Recovery Universal Basic Income is a Raise for All Canadians

When’s the last time you had a raise?

Recovery UBI is a $500/month payment to every adult (known as a universal dividend), which increases to guarantee each individual an income of a $2,000/month (the guaranteed minimum income, or GMI) for those who need it the most—so that every Canadian makes at least $24,000/year. Individuals residing with family get a guaranteed minimum income of $1,500/month, or $18,000/year.

If you're one of more than 8 million Canadians on the CERB, Recovery UBI will buy you the time you need to find opportunity in a post-pandemic economy. Recovery to pre-pandemic levels is predicted to take as long as 10 years. If you are among the 4 in 10 recent layoffs expected NOT to be hired back, adopting this program is urgent.

9 Ways to Pay for Recovery UBI

UBI is affordable—it's merely a matter of political will.

UBI Works has put together 9 different options to pay for Recovery UBI. It is fully possible to pay for a basic income without raising personal income taxes, without eliminating social programs, and without adding to the national debt.

These 9 funding plans are drawn from a list of $874B in funding proposals collected from ideas right across the political spectrum that could pay for the entire program 3 times over. Basic Income isn’t left or right, if we choose the right way to pay for it.

Recovery UBI: we can reclaim prosperity

A universal dividend (UBI) gives you a share of the economy, letting us share in the value that technology is creating, while a guaranteed minimum income (GMI) buys you time by keeping you out of poverty, as you transition into the new economy. Recovery UBI delivers BOTH, and this article explains why.  

Our economy is leaving most Canadians worse off. Jobs aren't working for most people, because wages are not growing faster than costs of living. A key reason is that technology is cheaper than workers. We can fix this—and reclaim our prosperity—with Recovery UBI.

Entrepreneurs & Innovators

An entrepreneur driving an Uber part-time making $28,000 while building their business would benefit from a 35% effective raise to $38,000 a year.  Entrepreneurs could choose to live off $2,000/month with no market income as they build their startups. This is why Y Combinator's Sam Altman calls UBI "seed funding for the people".

For Students

Students not receiving an income could focus on school with the full $24,000 income guarantee, increasing graduation and attainment rates.
This is income you can build off should you wish to continue working or make other contributions to your community.

For Seniors

Seniors receive a guaranteed minimum income of $24,000/year ($18,000/year per adult in a family), higher than what is guaranteed by OAS/GIS. Therefore the GMI would top up existing payments (CPP, OAS, GIS, etc.) to at least $24,000.

This is income you can build off should you wish to continue working or make other contributions to your community.

Those on Social Assistance

Recovery UBI can be rolled out quickly, on top of other needs-based supports, so the most vulnerable Canadians are not worse off. Those receiving government benefits get topped-up so that they make at least $2,000/month and will always be better off if they earn additional income from employment.

Those with Disabilities

Canadians with disabilities have long had to survive on government assistance levels far below their cost of living, resulting in much higher poverty rates. The programs that do support them are vital, and small changes can have catastrophic effects for those relying on them to meet their daily needs. 

That’s why Recovery UBI doesn’t touch or tweak any existing disability support program—the cost of making a mistake is just too high. Instead, Recovery UBI adds between $6,000-$24,000/year to the incomes of those living with disabilities. The $24,000 floor nearly doubles the effective maximum amounts that federal and provincial programs provide.

Entrepreneurs & Innovators

An entrepreneur driving an Uber part-time making $28,000 while building their business would benefit from a 35% effective raise to $38,000 a year.  Entrepreneurs could choose to live off $2,000/month with no market income as they build their startups. This is why Y Combinator's Sam Altman calls UBI "seed funding for the people".

For Students

Students not receiving an income could focus on school with the full $24,000 income guarantee, improving educational outcomes and increasing graduation rates.

For Seniors

Seniors receive a guaranteed minimum income of $24,000/year ($18,000 per adult in a family), higher than what is guaranteed by OAS/GIS. This is an income you can build off, should you want to continue working or making other contributions to your community.

Those on Social Assistance

Recovery UBI can be rolled out quickly, on top of other needs-based supports, so the most vulnerable Canadians are not worse off. Those receiving government benefits get topped-up so that they make at least $2,000/month and will always be better off if they earn additional income from employment.

Those with Disabilities

Canadians with disabilities have long had to survive on government assistance levels far below their cost of living, resulting in much higher poverty rates. The programs that do support them are vital, and small changes can have catastrophic effects for those relying on them to meet their daily needs.

That’s why Recovery UBI doesn’t touch or tweak any existing disability support program—the cost of making a mistake is just too high. Instead, Recovery UBI adds between $6,000-$24,000/year to the incomes of those living with disabilities. The $24,000 floor nearly doubles the effective maximum amounts that federal and provincial programs provide. 

Understanding Recovery UBI

Tap on the graphs to switch between simple and detailed views of "total income". Swipe to see the impact on families.

Under our plan, all Canadians get a universal dividend (blue part of the chart above), and a guaranteed minimum income (red part of chart) that is gradually phased out as Canadians earn income from work.

Hover over the graph to see a detailed breakdown of "total income".

Individuals are guaranteed a minimum income of $2,000/month ($24,000/year; $18,000 per adult in a family), which is gradually phased out by 50 cents for every dollar of work income, and by $1 for every dollar of government benefits or investment income—to a minimum Recovery UBI of $500/month, the universal dividend for all Canadians. This ensures Canadians are always making more if they are working, while ending working poverty.

How your Recovery UBI is calculated

Every Canadian adult gets $500/month immediately, which increases to guarantee all Canadians a minimum income of $2,000/month ($1,500/adult residing with family members also receiving it) based on your existing income.

This minimum income, or income floor, ensures that your total income, including existing government cash supports and all other income combined, is no less than $2,000/month ($1,500/adult in families). 

The monthly amount will rise if your income falls below $2,000, offsetting the risk of losing income during the pandemic, such as getting laid off.

You will always make more if you earn money from work.


Recovery UBI only counts 50% of your employment income against the $2,000 guarantee. This ensures that at every income level, the choice to work will still earn you more money. For every dollar earned through employment, the income guarantee payment will only decrease by $0.50.

If you are making enough that you don’t require the income guarantee, you still get an extra $500/month. 

A Quicker, Cheaper UBI

Many basic income proposals aim to replace the current social assistance programs with a single, more generous and efficient program. These require complicated negotiations between all levels of government to ensure the many millions of Canadians that rely on current programs are not negatively impacted. 

Recovery UBI is designed to be a quicker, cheaper solution for the context of the current pandemic, while still allowing for a transition to a permanent arrangement between the governments. Because it does not require consolidating dozens of provincial and federal programs, Recovery UBI is much cheaper than a single, all-encompassing basic income, and something the federal government can roll out quickly and affordably to give all Canadians immediate relief. 

Find out why Recovery UBI is affordable
.

Recovery UBI will create jobs and support businesses

As businesses reopen and Canadians go back to work, Recovery UBI gives all Canadians the ability to be customers, supporting local businesses and driving job creation. It puts money directly into the hands of Canadians, who spend it right back into their communities.

We know UBI works to create jobs and help businesses  - the proof is already visible within our families. The Canada Child Benefit is Canada's national Basic Income for people with children, received by 67% of Canadian families.

Recovery UBI is nearly 20 times bigger than the Canada Child Benefit in terms of net cost. Imagine the impact it would have on Canadians, our families, and our communities.

UBI Works is a non-profit on a mission to make Universal Basic Income a permanent reality for all Canadians.

In 2018, UBI Works led a group of over 120 Canadian CEOs, representing over $2.3 billion in annual revenue, to sign a statement in support of basic income, because it's working to grow our economy, create jobs, and lift Canadians out of poverty.

Economic Contribution of the Canada Child Benefit

UBI Works commissioned a study on the Canada Child Benefit, a basic income for families, showing that basic income is growing the economy, creating jobs, and lifting Canadians out of poverty.

Read more

UBI Works at the Ontario Liberal Party Convention 2020

On March 7, 2020 UBI Works founder, Floyd Marinescu spoke to more than 2,000 politicos, including former Premiers of Ontario, MPs, and MPPs about automation and the urgency for UBI

Watch Video

COVID-19 Emergency Unconditional Basic Income Petition

On March 16, 2020, UBI Works launched a petition for an Emergency UBI, garnering over 30,000 signatures and emails to all 338 MPs.

See the Petition

Support Us

Our Mission

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.

Our Why

We want a Canada where everyone can pursue their potential and not be held back by basic material constraints or unsafe environments.

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