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HPPH Board of Health Calls For Basic Income For All Canadians

The health unit is joining several expert and community groups who are asking for the federal government to create a basic income for all Canadians.

HURON/PERTH - The Huron Perth Public Health Board of Health is calling for Canada to create a basic income 

They are joining several experts and community groups in Canada who are asking for this. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that even a small loss of income can have a big impact on people's ability to meet basic needs.  

Basic income is payment made directly to people with low income, whether or not they work for pay. It would help people meet their needs, participate in society and live with dignity.

Chair of the HPPH Board of Health Kathy Vassilakos says basic income isn’t a new idea. 

“Studies from around the world, including in Canada, show that providing people with a basic income has a positive impact on important social goals like reducing poverty, boosting local economies, increasing community participation and improving health.”

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2020, HPPH Board of Health noted that the federal government already gives money to some people living with low income. People with children receive the Child Tax Benefit (CTB). Seniors receive Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Basic Income would cover working age adults living with low incomes.

Perth Huron United Way has also endorsed basic income. According to its Living Wage report, half the households in Huron and Perth Counties earn less than the Living Wage of $17.55 an hour. Basic Income would also help people in lower paying, seasonal, part-time or contract work.

Poverty to Prosperity (P2P), Huron’s anti-poverty coalition, has been a strong advocate for Basic Income. P2P co-chair Pam Hanington says that Basic Income would: 

“Significantly reduce poverty in Huron and Perth, especially for people currently relying on inadequate provincial income assistance programs.”

She adds the rollout of the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) has shown that the government can deliver Basic Income. 

"Costing models show that it is affordable. Basic Income is supported by economists, health professionals, and businesses. Fifty members of the Canadian Senate have called for the CERB to transition to a permanent Basic Income. Basic income is an important way we can improve people’s health and social conditions, and support our local economy.”

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