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Letter: Liveable income bill long overdue

The presented Bill S-233 would develop a national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income, if passed
Bill S-233 would help the men and women earning too little to support their families, says reader. | Photo SeventyFour/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Dear Editor,

Most of us are not aware that the Senate are considering Bill S-233, a bill that would provide framework for a guaranteed annual income for Canadians, increasing the number who could manage basic expenses regularly.

That reminded me of the years, decades ago, when, for a couple of years, I coordinated the Women’s Centre for the wonderful women who had founded it.

Some of the clients are still in my memory, like the teenage girls who were trying to manage mothering in basement apartments on too little basic income assistance.

I had asked one if her family could help her, and she said they would if they could, but they can’t.

It was an education for me. So I was thrilled to hear, in 2024, that the Senators were trying to address this Canada-wide need, because as far as I can see neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals have so far improved the situation for families like theirs, despite the increase in the cost of living.

I had lived in Manitoba after one of the “trial balloons” of guaranteed annual income, and I remember what a success it was.

Women were able to take their children and get away from abusive men. Men and women who were earning too little to support their families could sign up for more training and get better paying jobs.

It was a hugely successful trial, but the evidence has been buried for a generation.

Believe it or not, there must be people in Canada who want to continue to have a pool of desperately poor people available as workers. I don’t, and if other North Shore readers don’t, they can remind their Senator that the Senate has a historic opportunity to pass Bill S-233, a framework for a guaranteed basic income.

There are Canadians who can’t afford to wait.

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