Basic income in Canada

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Basic income in Canada has been debated since at least the 1930s with the Social Credit movement, but as in other parts of the western world the discussion has increased during the last decades. Different names have been used, for example "Guaranteed Annual Income", "Social Dividend" and "basic income".


William Aberhart

William Aberhart, Premier of Alberta, was inspired by Major C. H. Douglas Social Credit theory and tried to implement a basic income for Albertans during the 1930s. However he was thwarted in his attempts by the Federal Government of the time.[1]

Guaranteed Annual Income in Canada, refers to various proposals discussed in Canada since the 1970s, to implement guaranteed minimum income or basic income; also called NIT (for negative income tax) and UD (for Universal Demogrant) respectively.

Between 1974 and 1979, the Mincome experiment was undertaken in Dauphin, Manitoba in order to assess the impact of a basic income on work incentives.

Current efforts[edit]

As of 2014, the Liberal Party of Canada,[2] the Green Party of Canada,[3] the Pirate Party of Canada,[4] provincial party Québec Solidaire[5] and former conservative senator Hugh Segal[6] advocate for basic income in Canada. Mike Redmond, leader of the New Democratic Party of Prince Edward Island, supports a basic income pilot project in Prince Edward Island.[7]

In November 2013, a poll commissioned by the Trudeau Foundation found that 46% of Canadians favoured and 42% opposed replacing current economic assistance with a guaranteed national income.[8]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new trial in March 2016.[9]

Books and articles[edit]


  • Guaranteed annual income: why Milton Friedman and Bob Stanfield were right, by Hugh Segal [2]
  • Scrapping Welfare, by Hugh Segal [3]
  • Should Canada have a guaranteed annual income?, by Kevin Milligan [4]
  • Understanding Guaranteed Income by Chandra Pasma & Jim Mulvale
  • The problem isn't giving people money when they don't's taking it away when they do, by Andrew Coyne
  • The Town with no Poverty, by Evelyn Forget
  • On Basic Income: go big or go home by Stephen Gordon [5]
  • On the political economy of a basic income, by Stephen Gordon
  • Income Security for Working-Age Adults, by John Stapleton
  • Rethinking Income Support: A Guaranteed Income, by Ken Battle
  • Negative income tax and labour market participation, by Samir Amine & Pedro Lagos Dos Santos

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mulvale, James P. (2008) Basic Income and the Canadian Welfare State: Exploring the Realms of Possibility. Basic Income Studies, 3(1) [1]
  2. ^ "Creating a Basic Annual Income to be Designed and Implemented for a Fair Economy". Liberal Party of Canada. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Guaranteed Livable Allowance". The Canadian Progressive. 
  4. ^ "Establish Citizen’s Income (“Mincome”)"
  5. ^ (in French) "Québec solidaire présente des propositions audacieuses pour combattre les inégalités," Québec solidaire (14 aout 2012).
  6. ^ Senator Hugh Segal on basic income, Basic Income News
  7. ^ "NDP support guaranteed income pilot project". CBC News. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "A National Survey of Canadians" (PDF). Environics Institute for Survey Research. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Hazan, Jeremy. "Justin Trudeau Plans To Experiment Giving Canadians Unconditional Free Money". MTL Blog. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 

External links[edit]