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We’re rallying support for Bill S-233 - Basic Income Alberta

We’re rallying support for Bill S-233

‘Whereas every person should have access to livable basic income…’

Bill S-233 has sparked debate and discussion across Canada. In short, this Bill proposes to develop a national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income. If passed, Bill S-233 would require the federal government to create a plan for delivering a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income to Canadians.

What is Bill S-233?

A Guaranteed Basic Livable Income (GLBI) represents a fundamental shift in the way that Canadians address poverty, deliver social programs, and provide for our most vulnerable. At its core, Bill S-233 compels the government develop a framework that will inform the design of a basic income whether it is a universal, or guaranteed basic income program for Canadians, providing them with basic financial security.

Senator Kim Pate introduced this bill in late 2021 alongside Bill C-223, its counterpart currently working its way through the House of Commons. Either bill, if passed, would require the Finance Minister to create a plan for implementing a GLBI within one year.

Why Is This Necessary?

We are spending billions of dollars on several targeted, means tested income support programs that have grown so complex it’s impossible to determine if they are effective. Many are falling through the cracks, especially singles adults without children. Most of our income support programs have work-based requirements, which is especially problematic in the current labour market and the rise of gig work.

Alberta is often hailed for its booming opportunities, however, in recent years the province has endured economic downturns, layoffs, and a growing number of working people struggling to make ends meet. It’s no secret that Alberta is in the midst of a very real housing affordability crisis.

Today, neither work nor the existing social safety net ensures that all people have enough income to meet their basic needs. Employment is becoming increasingly insecure, while our income support programs are complex, intrusive and inadequate. Many people living on income supports are living in a state of survival as their incomes do not match the ever-rising cost of living.

A basic income will reduce poverty. Forms of basic income such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Child Benefit  have already changed lives profoundly for the better and a University of Calgary School of Public Policy report says the cost may be less burdensome than many would think.

What's the Status of the Bill?

The Good News: Bill S-233 has passed its second reading and has been referred to the Senate’s Standing Committee for National Finance.

Bill S-233 will require the minister to prepare a report. The report would include the framework one year after the act comes into fruition. There may be amendments to Bill S-233 after it has been reviewed in detail through the second and third reading. If the Bill passes in the Senate, it is then sent to the House of Commons. There will be three readings, including a Committee study between the second and third readings.

Basic Income Alberta sent a submission to the Standing Senate Committee with recommended principles for the design, information about how it could be funded, and details about the potential benefits and savings that would result from its implementation.

What You Can Do

Basic Income Alberta has made a submission to the Senate and is now calling on advocates to let them know that you support moving forward with a basic income.

There is no specific deadline for submission; however, this Bill is expected to be brought forward in Fall 2023. The sooner, the better.

Creating a framework for a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income is an important first step for Canada. Bill S-233 is a long way from becoming law and includes no spending on a basic income itself. It would, however, compel the Federal Government to do the appropriate research, consult and educate Canadians, and develop a plan for effective implementation. This is the closest Basic Income advocates have ever come to seeing a basic income become a reality.

Supporting Bill S-233 is a step in the right direction towards streamlining the income support system, strengthening our social safety net, and realizing a basic income for Canadians. It’s time to address these challenges and issues head-on.

For more information on steps you can take visit Bills S-233 & C-223: The next step for Unconditional Basic Income

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