Basic Income Would Cost Canada $15 Billion Annually: Report

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from Huffington Post,

A basic income program similar to the one Ontario is testing would cost Canada around $15 billion annually, says a new study from the Northern Policy Institute.

The study estimates that if Ontario’s basic income were implemented nationwide, it would cost $30 billion per year. But because the program replaces existing welfare and disability support programs, the savings would offset about half the cost of the basic income.

“A net cost of $15 billion annually is not only feasible, it is about five per cent of federal government expenditure and much less than we currently spend on seniors’ benefits,” wrote study author Evelyn Forget.

“We can afford it if we choose to afford it.”

Forget, a professor of community health sciences and economics at the University of Manitoba, is credited with uncovering long-forgotten documentation on a basic income experiment in Dauphin, Man. in the 1970s.

She found that the Dauphin “mincome” experiment, as it was called, greatly reduced poverty and afforded opportunities that recipients otherwise would not have had.

Both the Dauphin project and similar experiments in the U.S. in the 1970s found that a basic income would cause some people to reduce their working hours, but primarily among “secondary” earners in a household. There was little effect on primary earners — those with the largest paycheque.

The hours worked by youth dropped significantly in the Dauphin experiment, but Forget found this was due to them staying in school.

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