Jill Umback – Universal Basic Income

Meeting Was Held On -

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 3:53 PM

Jill Umbach of the United Way’s Poverty Task Force.

Canada is at a critical juncture where emergency COVID-19 benefits wind-down or reshaped into an ongoing basic income that enables everyone to be part of a better, new normal. There are a variety of briefs and community voices being presented to the government – most recently to the Senate. Some of the Canadian issues of a Universal Basic Income are:

  • We know that we live in a rich country and we can fund programs that are good for the economy and the community.
  • We know that Basic Income is not a panacea for people living in poverty.  Lives are too complex for a single solution.
  • We know that it does not solve the problem of affordable housing, quality accessible childcare or gender inequality in the workplace.
  • We know that a Basic Income+ would be a supplement to other programs that serve to meet basic needs.
  • We know that it will not address sexism, racism etc. across our society but that it will move us toward more equity and equality.
  • We know that 56% of women in Canada work in 5Cs jobs: caring, clerical, catering, cashiering and cleaning.
  • We know that women are 2 times more likely to lose their job or have their hours reduced under COVID19.
  • We know that many women are now working triple shifts – homeschooling children, unpaid house work and paid at home work.
  • We know that Basic Income+ needs to be a liveable income and be tied with the cost of living.
  • We know that Basic Income+ could enable women’s economic independence, offer greater choices, more flexibility, childcare affordability, more bargaining power in employment and access to better housing & neighbourhoods, improved health and wellbeing.   (Evelyn Forget, 18 June 2020 – Tamarack webinar: Basic Income & Gender Inequality)

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has given some people a taste of what they could gain if a universal basic income program were implemented. CERB was designed to keep people at home. As we reopen our community and country, we need to design a system that will increase people’s ability to fully participate in our society.

Explore reading on Basic Income in Canada:

Explore reading on Basic Income and Women:

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