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Guaranteed Livable Income

October 17, 2023

My question is for you, Senator Gold.

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. By 2030, it is estimated that 7% of the world’s population will be living on less than $2.15 per day.

Throughout the pandemic and beyond, we are experiencing the crises of deepening poverty, homelessness and health and food insecurity. This is especially true for marginalized women, Indigenous and Black people, folks with disabilities and the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

As you know, in 2021, the government’s National Action Plan for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls identified the role of guaranteed liveable income as a short-term priority to begin within the coming one to three years — that’s by next year, by 2024. What steps has the government taken toward implementation, and when will they act to assist provinces like P.E.I. and other jurisdictions that are interested in pursuing such initiatives?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Thank you for your question. The government is committed to supporting Canadians. Indeed, between 2015 and 2021, close to 2.3 million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty, including 653,000 fewer children and 11,000 fewer seniors, representing a 49% decrease in poverty.

While basic income could help to address poverty, there are significant design considerations that require further study, including funding implications for existing programs and the potential effects on the labour market. To this end, I note that a study is being conducted by our Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.

It is my understanding that the government will continue to monitor research and analysis on basic income, and the government is exploring potential short-term and long-term policy responses to address the needs of Canadians.

Thank you very much for that response, Senator Gold. I’m interested in the specific steps — perhaps you could provide them in writing — that the government has taken to have these interjurisdictional discussions with provinces, territories and municipalities that have been raised by a number of jurisdictions, which I first highlighted on June 8, 2021, just after the action plan was introduced.

Senator Gold [ - ]

Thank you for your question. I appreciate your patience in waiting for a response to your written question. I will ask my office to follow-up on the response, and I’ll report back to the chamber as soon as I can.

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