VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, says that the government’s newly convened Basic Income Expert Panel is a significant step forward for the province’s 21st century economic strategy. The committee was announced at a press conference today in Vancouver and is related to the B.C. Greens’ Confidence and Supply Agreement with the B.C. NDP.
“At this moment, on the verge of fundamental economic change and with the old model of work already faltering for so many, we have an opportunity to create policy that sets the stage for a better future for British Columbians,” said Weaver.
Weaver has advocated for exploring basic income in B.C. since 2016. In the 2017 election, the B.C. Greens campaigned to conduct a basic income pilot and implement basic income for youth transitioning out of care. The expert committee members are David Green, Vancouver School of Economics at UBC; Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, School of Public Policy at SFU; and Lindsay Tedds, School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.
“Recent years have seen disproportionate increases in part-time and contract work. Wages have stagnated while the cost of living in our cities has spiralled out of control. Meanwhile, studies estimate that half of Canadian jobs could be impacted by automation in the next decade alone. We proposed exploring basic income in B.C. because we believe that government needs to have a plan for the changes on the horizon.
“When people are secure, they are more likely to feel confident starting a new business or returning to school. Investing in British Columbians’ success is the best way we can ensure a thriving local economy for generations to come. Further, research shows that basic income can provide income security while reducing the costs of other supports. For instance, when basic income was introduced in Dauphin, Manitoba, hospital visits declined by 8.5%.
“The committee members are all highly qualified researchers and creative thinkers. I am delighted they will be exploring this innovative policy idea for government so that we can best position our province to succeed in a changing world.”
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