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e-3987 (Social affairs and equality)

E-petition
Initiated by Mary Sanderson from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • In November 2020, the Prince Edward Island Legislature Special Committee on Poverty tabled a report calling for the creation of a guaranteed livable income (GLI) pilot programme for Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.);
  • This report has the support of all political parties in P.E.I. to establish a demonstration of a GLI project in that province; and
  • The benefits of such a programme for Canadians would be immense, helping to form part of the country’s post-COVID economic recovery, and help meet and solidify Canada’s commitment to implement the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Begin immediate negotiations with the Government of P.E.I. for the development and implementation of a GLI project for P.E.I.; and
2. Ensure that all federal transfer payments that support provincially funded services and programs remain in place during these negotiations, regardless of any initiatives on a GLI that are implemented by the Government of P.E.I.

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

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): IREK KUSMIERCZYK

The Government of Canada is taking crucial steps to help make life more affordable for more Canadians, while investing to grow the economy and create jobs.  

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

This petition calls for negotiations between the Government of Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island for the development and implementation of a provincial Guaranteed Livable Income, which can be viewed as equivalent to a basic income. The Government of Canada already has ongoing programs with features of a partial basic income, such as the Canada Child Benefit for families with children, and the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors. In addition, existing programs such as the Canada Workers Benefit and Employment Insurance (EI) help low-income individuals with labour market attachment or those with insurable employment. These and other initiatives have contributed to progress on lifting Canadians out of poverty. These programs exist alongside provincial and territorial programs, including those that deliver social assistance.

In 2022, the Government of Canada announced the Affordability Plan?, a suite of measures totaling $12.1 billion in new support in 2022 to help make life more affordable for millions of Canadians. Measures in the Affordability Plan include enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit, a 10 per cent increase to Old Age Security (OAS), affordable Early Learning and Child Care, helping Canadians afford their rent, dental care for Canadians, doubling the Goods and Services Tax Credit for six months, benefits that are indexed to inflation, and helping Canadians while fighting climate change.  These measures build on the strong action we have been taking since 2015 to make life more affordable and build an economy that works for all Canadians.

The Government of Canada reintroduced framework legislation for the Canada Disability Benefit    (Bill C-22) in the House of Commons on June 2, 2022. The goal of the proposed benefit is to reduce poverty and support the financial security of working-age persons with disabilities. The Canada Disability Benefit is a key component of Canada’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan. In addition to the Benefit, the Disability Inclusion Action Plan also includes a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities, as well as ongoing work to develop a better process to determine eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits.

The Government of Canada continually undertakes research and analysis on potential basic income programs and other approaches that could positively impact Canada’s economy and society, as part of its efforts to tackle poverty and to ensure that all Canadians have a real and fair opportunity to succeed. Findings from this analysis underscore that a basic income program would represent a major change in Canada's social safety net, not only in scope and scale, but also in the way it would have to engage provincial and territorial jurisdictions over social assistance. Nevertheless, if a provincial or territorial government decides to proceed with a basic income pilot, the Government of Canada would be pleased to share federal-level administrative, survey, and tax data that could support program design and evaluation. As we move towards economic recovery, the Government is continuing to explore a variety of potential shorter and longer-term policy responses that could address the ongoing needs of Canadians.  

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

Income security is a shared jurisdiction across different levels of government. At the federal level, the Government of Canada already has programs with similar features to 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.

The Government of Canada continually undertakes research and analysis on a range of policies and programs as part of its efforts to ensure that all Canadians have a real and fair opportunity to succeed. Findings from this analysis underscore that a universal basic income program would represent a major change in Canada's social safety net, not only in scope and scale, but also in the way it would have to engage provincial/territorial jurisdiction over social assistance. As numerous academics have pointed out, any basic income proposal has to confront fundamental trade-offs in relation to the amount of the benefit level, the impact on work incentives, and program costs.

The Government of Canada provides significant financial support to provincial and territorial governments on an ongoing basis to assist them in the provision of programs and services. 

In 2022-23, the Government of Prince Edward Island will receive $768 million through major transfers, consisting of $503 million in Equalization, $196 million through the Canada Health Transfer, and $69 million through the Canada Social Transfer. Together, major transfers are estimated to account for approximately 30 percent of Prince Edward Island’s revenues in 2022-23, with Equalization accounting for nearly 20 percent. Withholding payments of the Canada Health Transfer or Canada Social Transfer are only done as a result of provincial and territorial non-compliance of the Canada Health Act or the imposition of a minimum residency requirement on social assistance programs, respectively.

Open for signature
May 3, 2022, at 2:56 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 2, 2022, at 2:56 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre)
October 3, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00720)
Government response tabled
November 16, 2022
Photo - Leah Gazan
Winnipeg Centre
New Democratic Party Caucus
Manitoba
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