Even some conservatives support this idea, but we need to expand on it.
The idea is that everyone in Canada should be provided a minimum level of income that is scaled back when people earn more, in a way that won’t discourage employment. This would provide a minimum standard of living, and eliminate much of the need for other income replacement programs. More details need to be worked out, because this only deals with the income side of things, and many programs provide other benefits but if we move in this direction, I think it could help people more because of reduced administration costs. We could possibly expand in other areas, such as drug and dental coverage for more people.
The problem I see with the way that this has typically been proposed, is that the minimum income is always a year behind, so that if I required income support in 2011, I would be getting it this year in 2012. The poorest can’t wait that long.
Some thoughts on improving:
- Benefits should be paid monthly.
- Every individual and family can opt out of the monthly benefit if they are confident that they won’t need it. Individuals and Families enrolled in the G.A.I. will receive a base amount per month. Those that opt out will have the yearly benefit calculated at tax time so that if they were eligible, they get a refund.
- Expand on Payroll deductions so that this supplement would be included in calculations. Those that earn more, pay more of the benefit back through tax. This gears the benefit to income, while ensuring people keep more of the benefit when they need it most. This would then be assessed at tax time.
- Those that earn but aren’t employees with deductions would have the benefit calculated at tax time.
These are some ideas, but I’m not entirely sure if they make sense or are doable, but I would like to see a move in this direction. I think it would be better for everyone. I hope more people will think about it.