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e-2577 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Chris Alemany from Port Alberni, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • The unequal patchwork of insurance, support, and welfare systems across Canada represent a barrier to the constitutional right of Canadians to live and seek work anywhere in the country;
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a more robust and all-inclusive support structure for all Canadians in both normal times and in crisis situations; and
  • A universal basic income has been tested successfully in multiple jurisdictions in Canada and around the world with positive economic and social impacts.
We, the undersigned, people of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to work urgently across party lines and in partnership with provincial and territorial governments to overhaul our employment and welfare systems and implement a guaranteed, consistent, national, and livable universal basic income system for all Canadians in all parts of Canada.

Response by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): IREK KUSMIERCZYK

The Government of Canada continually undertakes research and analysis on a range of policies and programs that could positively impact Canada’s economy and society as part of its efforts to ensure that all Canadians have a real and fair opportunity to succeed.

It is important to acknowledge that income security is a shared jurisdiction across different levels of government. As such, the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of working with provinces and territories to find solutions to common challenges.

The Government of Canada already has programs with many of the features of a basic income, such as the Canada Child Benefit for families with children, the Old Age Security program and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors. In addition, existing programs such as the Canada Workers Benefit and Employment Insurance (EI) provide income supports for low-income individuals with labour market attachment or those with insurable employment. These programs exist alongside provincial and territorial social assistance programs.

That being said, the Government is aware of views regarding the existing EI benefits and leave system and that the changing nature of work presents challenges in providing support to all Canadians in their unique circumstances.

In response to COVID-19, the Government has invested billions in targeted income support to individuals, business, key sectors, and community organizations on the frontlines of serving Canadians. In addition to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which is providing $500 per week to eligible individuals impacted by the forced shutdown of the economy, the Government of Canada has taken several measures to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak such as supports for families with children and lower income individuals.

To provide further support for Canadian families facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government provided a one-time enhancement of $300 per child for families currently receiving the Canada Child Benefit as part of the May 2020 payment. The overall increase for families receiving the child benefit was around $550 on average.

To respond to the economic hardship experienced by Canadians due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in April, 2020, the Government also provided direct financial support to low- and modest-income individuals and families through a special Goods and Services/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit top-up payment. This payment effectively doubled benefit amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year and delivered the additional support in one lump-sum payment. The average additional benefit is close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There was no need to apply for this payment. All individuals who were eligible received the payment.

As we continue to move towards economic recovery, the Government of Canada is continuing to explore a variety of potential shorter and longer-term policy responses that could address the ongoing needs of Canadians.  


Open for signature
May 7, 2020, at 10:49 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
June 6, 2020, at 10:49 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
June 10, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00248)
Government response tabled
September 24, 2020
Photo - Gord Johns
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia
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