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Pandemic exposes need for basic income program, expert says

Basic income is essentially a no-strings attached benefit governments provide to citizens that sets a financial floor for individuals and families

October 13, 2020  The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — A leading Canadian expert on government-funded basic incomes says the oft-debated idea could have averted much of the economic effects of COVID-19.

Evelyn Forget says a basic income program would have automatically provided help to hard-hit Canadians instead of forcing governments to set up emergency aid in a rush.

Basic income is essentially a no-strings attached benefit governments provide to citizens that sets a financial floor for individuals and families.

Advocates of such a program have pointed to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as an example of how the country could make basic income a reality.

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But Forget says the CERB, for all its innovation, wasn’t a basic income program, nor is the replacement known as the Canada Recovery Benefit.

The University of Manitoba professor lays out her new analysis of basic income in an update to her book on the subject being released Oct. 13.