Guaranteed annual income worth pondering
Published On Wed Mar 31 2010
Last week’s provincial budget ended the Special Diet Program, ensuring that thousands of our most vulnerable citizens will be pushed deeper into poverty and illness.
In March 2009, 374,000 Ontarians visited a food bank. Too many Ontarians are forced to be dependant on such emergency programs, which where meant to be temporary. This shows the erosion of Canada’s social safety net. What kind of nation denies its most vulnerable citizens access to the healthy foods they need in order to be well again? It is time for a change.
Senator Hugh Segal advocates a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI), claiming that current government programs have been ineffective in reducing poverty or improved re-entry to the labour market. One form of a GAI, called a Negative Income Tax, could be structured so that when an individual files their tax return, and their income falls below what is needed for adequate survival, the state would provide a tax benefit to that individual.
As Segal says, there would be no massive program or intervention; no public means test or interrogation at the welfare office; no embarrassment; less fraud; more dignity and self-respect. This is something that I, as a Canadian citizen, would be proud to contribute to.
No one deserves to live in poverty. A GAI program would help to break the cycle of poverty and reduce the costs for all Canadians.
Brooke Camplin, Hamilton