Implementing a Basic Income Guarantee in Canada: Prospects and Problems

Memorial University
2018

We outline the case for a basic income guarantee and characterize the alternative forms it could take. We argue that implementing such a program in the Canadian federation should involve collaboration between federal and provincial governments, with each level having some discretion over the size of the guarantee within their jurisdictions. We draw on tax harmonization arrangements in Canada for guidance about how such collaboration could be managed. We propose a basic income guarantee model for Canada that is sufficient to move all persons out of poverty, that is implemented through the tax system, and that is affordable. Our proposal is virtually self-financing in the sense that it redistributes existing federal and provincial transfers and does not require any tax increases. We illustrate our basic income guarantee program using simulations based on Statistics Canada’s SPSD model.