Designing a basic income guarantee for Canada

Department of Economics, Queen’s University, Kingston
2016

We propose mechanism for implementing a two-stage harmonized Basic Income Guarantee with federal and provincial components. In Stage One, the federal government replaces its refundable and nonrefundable tax credits with an income-tested basic income delivered through the income tax system. The reform is revenue-neutral. In Stage Two, each province decides whether to implement a provincial basic income guarantee that is harmonized with the federal one but allows province-specific basic income levels. The provincial basic income replaces provincial refundable and nonrefundable tax credits as well as welfare and disability transfers, and is also revenue-neutral. All social services and contributory social insurance programs remain intact. An illustrative calculation using Statistical Canada’s SPSD/M model shows the financial feasibility of a national BIG of $20,000 per adult adjusted for family size with a benefit reduction rate of 30%.

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Working Paper No. 1371