New report shows how Canada could fund $22,000 basic income for adults

Posted on June 5, 2020 in Social Security Debates

Source: — Authors: , , , , – Policy_Options
June 5, 2020.

BICN Policy Options

Englishen français

New report shows how Canada could fund $22,000 basic income for adults

As the need for basic income grows, the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) is often asked how Canada could best design and pay for it. To answer that in a detailed way, BICN asked a team to model some options that are fair, effective and feasible in Canada. Our new report, Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada does just that. Our three options demonstrate that it is indeed possible for Canada to have a basic income that is progressively structured and progressively funded. BICN wants governments, especially the federal government, to take this seriously—and to act. Lives, and the future of our country, depend on it.

“We’ve seen interest in basic income grow far beyond theoretical debates. BICN is now
frequently asked what it would look like in Canada,” said Chandra Pasma, a member of the
BICN Advisory Council and co-author of the report. “Our report clearly shows there are multiple
options Canadian governments could use to implement a successful basic income program.”

January 23, 2020 Press Release

Download the Full Report and Summary:

Full Report



Statistics Canada’s Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M) was used to model the funding of the options, combining existing resources with changes to the tax/transfer system, including tax fairness measures. All options are based on BICN’s principles and goals—to reduce inequality, including inequality between women and men; prevent poverty; provide everyone with greater income security, including middle-income earners; and ensure the wealthiest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share. Each option in the report, Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada, meets these overall goals.

The Options: 

  • Option 1 is for 18-64 year olds based on household income, operating much like child benefits, with the $22,000/year ($31,113 for a couple) benefit amount gradually reducing as other income increases; seniors benefits remain in place.
  • Option 2 is similarly income-tested and is for all adults, including seniors.
  • Option 3 is a universal model, sometimes called a demogrant, that provides the same benefit amount to every individual adult.

BICN, over the years, has encouraged a wide range of thought and work on basic income concepts, research, pilots and policy proposals. In our own modelling we developed three different progressive policy options and refrained from advocating for just one.

The COVID-19 health and economic crisis has changed that. We must be more directive.

Our concern for human life and wellbeing has led us to the conclusion that the federal government must act decisively now and that the best available evidence in Canada at this moment argues for a basic income guarantee model for 18-64 year olds, consistent with programs for seniors and children that have demonstrated success.

It is most critical that the basic income guarantee architecture be put in place as soon as possible in order that everyone in Canada can contribute to, and benefit from, a healthier new normal.

BICN’s Brief, submitted to both Senate and House of Commons Committees studying the government’s response to COVID-19, makes this case. It addresses key myths and misconceptions about basic income that Parliamentarians have asked us about, and explains the evidence base that should guide Canadian action. It concludes with a clear recommendation that:

“the federal government establish a basic income guarantee for 18-64 year olds comparable to the CERB monthly amount of $2000, ensuring that some benefits continue into the middle-income deciles, consistent with the design and principles of Option One in Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada  / Revenu de base: options stratégiques pour le CanadaThis option recognizes that a small boost in income will also be needed for low-income seniors, especially single seniors, in order to ensure fairness.”

The full Brief and recommendations, in both French and English are available here:

English versionFrench version

Be kind, and stay safe.

Sheila Regehr
Chair, BICN


Read the full report here.

For more information or inquiries about this this report contact BICN at

Tags: , , , ,

This entry was posted on Friday, June 5th, 2020 at 9:19 pm and is filed under Social Security Debates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply