Friday, March 19, 2021
Lindsay Tedds (Calgary; Google Scholar) presents Covering All the Basics: Reforms for a More Just Society (with David A. Green (British Columbia; Google Scholar) & Jonathan Rhys Kesselman (Simon Fraser)) virtually at British Columbia today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:
On July 3, 2018, the Government of British Columbia announced the creation of an expert committee to “test the feasibility of a basic income in BC and help find ways to make life better for British Columbians.” The expert committee followed a two year consultation process on poverty reduction in BC, legislative poverty reduction targets, and a poverty reduction strategy. Our approach to our task was two-pronged: to undertake a public outreach process, and to co-ordinate a comprehensive research agenda related to basic income in the context of the B.C. income and social support system. Our research program consists of over 40 research papers commissioned from over 40 Canadian researchers located at universities and institutes across Canada plus a few located abroad. On January 28, 2021 our final report and all input material was made public. Dr. Tedds will join us to walk through the work of the panel, its findings, and its main recommendations.
Another way to look at our conclusions and recommendations is from the perspective of work. We have found that, despite claims to the contrary, any viable basic income would have disincentives to work similar to those of the current Income Assistance system. Throughout our recommendations we have sought to encourage work, including by lowering the "welfare wall" across the Income Assistance program and by providing extended health benefits generally to low-income individuals; providing supports to lower barriers to work; reforming labour regulation to improve waves and conditions for low-wage, low-skill jobs; and enhancing earnings supplements to benefit employed people with low incomes. All of these changes will improve the attractiveness of work more effectively than receiving cash benefits, reducing the emphasis on a requirement to work in favour of support for work. The result will be the dignity and self-respect provided by work for those who are encouraged to work, and economic and fiscal gains for society.
What does the future we envision look like? It is a future in which British Columbia is a place of mutual concern and mutual respect, where each person is supported to make the fullest contribution they can. Where no one is left behind. It is a place where government policy supports a strong sense of mutual concern, striving to use the full set of tools at its disposal to balance the desire for individual autonomy and the need for community. And it is a place where the reciprocity needed to build and maintain public trust is at the core of public discourse. Where everyone, from those whose contributions bring in the largest incomes to the most vulnerable, is treated as an equal whose opinions are listened to with respect. In short, it is a version of British Columbia that always seeks the elusive balance inherent in a just society, knowing that it is a never-ending quest.