The BC government has struck a committee to begin exploring options for implementing a guaranteed minimum income. Most such programs gives individuals a certain amount, sometimes based on household composition, and often taxed back on individuals’ own income.
Ontario had a pilot project on a guaranteed minimum income, the analysis of which was still underway at the time of the June 7 provincial election. The Green Party of Ontario had promise to implement the project as-is, which would have seen some individuals facing a marginal tax rate of over 70% despite earning less than $30k per year. It also would have paid families less than the same number of single individuals.
While the Ontario government’s pilot was by far the worst version of a basic-income program I have ever seen, I would not put it past the BC government to somehow come up with an even worse one. After all, the BC NDP promised the BC Green Party to implement a pilot project on a guaranteed minimum income.
It was one of the promises that won Green support, which was necessary for NDP leader John Horgan to become premier of the province, despite winning fewer seats than the centre-right BC Liberals in the last election.
The committee will be composed of researchers from the University of Calgary and from Simon Fraser University. It will be chaired by University of British Columbia economics professor David Green, who specializes in wage and employment.
The committee will look at the province’s economy, labour market, and wealth distribution, to see what kind of program would be most likely to succeed. It will also take into account long-term labour market forecasts, and alternative ways to improve the province’s existing social assistance for those with low or no income.
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