BUDGET 2018: BC government considering basic income for residents

Feb 22 2018, 12:16 am

In what it says is an effort to reduce poverty in the province, the BC provincial government announced that it will provide $4 million over two years to “test the feasibility” of a basic income program in BC.

“The province will look at whether a basic income is an effective way to improve income security, reduce poverty, and address the impact of technological change,” the plan reads.

The plan was announced as part of the BC NDP’s budget unveiling on Tuesday.

While few details on how the test program would unfold – or what it would look like – have been revealed thus far, it could potentially follow the same guidelines as the basic income pilot project that was launched in Ontario last year.

In that province, the government is assessing whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers and improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes, according to the Government of Ontario.

Through the Ontario model, eligible participants – which number around 4,000 people between the ages of 18 to 64 – receive:

  • Up to $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50% of any earned income
  • Up to $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50% of any earned income
  • Up to an additional $6,000 per year for a person with a disability

Here in BC, the province said it also plans to convene a panel of experts “and consult with stakeholders for their input and advice to help address the gaps that exist in the critical social supports British Columbians rely on.”

With files from Yasmin Aboelsaud

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