Montreal — For decades, Canadian governments have tried to tackle poverty, unemployment, precarious work and unaffordable housing using numerous programs and policies, yet significant gaps remain. While implementing a basic income has often been put forward as a potential solution, a new book published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy argues that fixing the shortcomings in Canada’s social safety net can best be achieved with a suite of policy tools.
In Basic Income and a Just Society: Policy Choices for Canada’s Social Safety Net, some of Canada’s leading public policy researchers offer one of the most comprehensive evaluations of a basic income ever undertaken and use that as the basis for an in-depth analysis of the need for social policy reform across Canada. While embracing the spirit of basic income proponents, the authors conclude that the best solution lies in reforming existing programs. Replacing current policies with a basic income would be more complex, costly and generally less effective.
“We caution against relying on any single policy tool, particularly one that is centered on a ‘simple’ cash benefit,” says UBC economics professor David Green, one of the book’s lead authors. “We don’t believe there is one simple system that can fix all the problems. Rather, we view the issues to be addressed as multidimensional, requiring a suite of responses.”
To design a support system to achieve a more just society — one that promotes self- and social respect for all — the authors propose setting reform priorities based on the following broad policy principles and directions:
University of Calgary economist and co-lead author Lindsay Tedds sees this roadmap put forward by the book as an important step in the right direction: “Ultimately, a basic income is not a magic bullet that can easily fix the problems with Canada’s social safety net. The call for change put forward by basic income proponents is a worth embracing, but we should use an array of policy tools to get there.”
To purchase a copy of the book, visit the IRPP Shopify store.
To take part in the book launch on April 26 in Toronto, register here.
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