The growth of BC’s economy has not benefited people equally in this province. Many British Columbians were feeling left behind and left out of the benefits of our prosperity well before COVID. Now, COVID has exacerbated existing inequalities in our society and increased the number of people facing economic insecurity.
As we rebuild, we can't afford to go back to our old patchwork of social supports that didn't meet the needs of people. We need to build a more resilient social safety net that lifts people up and doesn't leave anyone behind.
It's not only the most marginalized people in our communities who suffer from economic insecurity. We, like every other jurisdiction, have large multinational corporations operating here, paying less than livable wages while they hand out massive profits to shareholders abroad. That’s a problem and it contributes to the cycle of poverty in our province, even amongst those with full-time jobs. At the same time, we recognise that for many local businesses, significantly higher minimum wages may hurt their viability, particularly while we deal with COVID.
Our priority is to ensure that all British Columbians can enjoy income security and eliminate the inability to afford the necessities of life. We can begin this task by integrating the principles of a basic income - simplicity, economic security, and reduced stigma - into our social safety net. The programs we have right now perpetuate poverty, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The purpose of our social safety net should be to help people get out of poverty. To do that, people need certainty, security, and the ability to save and plan for their futures.
The BC Greens' plan for Income security
- Increase income support levels, beginning with making the $300 crisis supplement permanent and indexing assistance to inflation;
- Eliminate the asset test;
- Reduce clawbacks on earned income to reduce the disincentive to work;
- Establish a 12-month period where those who qualify for income assistance can earn extra income without clawbacks.
- The task force will include representatives of the technology sector, business, workers, and economists.
- The task force will recommend ways to modernize our employment standards to adapt to the changing nature of work and technology, and assess jurisdiction and advise on strategies for working with the federal government to ensure that multinational companies are paying their fair share of taxes in BC.
- The terms of reference will include considering profit-sharing as a means to ensure businesses who are profitable are paying their workers a living wage, and that workers benefit from the profits that are too often only accrued at the top of an organization.