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Researchers explore the potential of basic income in B.C.

As part of the Province’s efforts to reduce poverty and prepare for the emerging economy, three distinguished researchers have been appointed to lead a B.C.-focused exploration of basic income.

This work relates to a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between government and the B.C. Green Party caucus.

David Green, from the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will chair the expert committee. Joining him will be Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, from the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, and Lindsay Tedds, from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

The committee will oversee independent research to test the feasibility of a basic-income pilot in British Columbia. It will also look at how basic-income principles might be used to improve the existing income and social-support system. The committee will also consider the impact that advances in technology and automation, and other shifts, are predicted to have on the labour market over the next several decades.

The research will also include simulations that will look at how various basic-income models work with B.C.’s population. These will identify the potential impacts and financial implications of different approaches and economic conditions on B.C. citizens.

The committee will begin work this summer, assisted by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

Quotes:

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction —

“The researchers will look at whether a basic income is a viable option to reduce poverty, build financial security, and increase inclusion and well-being. This is a complex area of study, and our government looks forward to learning more about how to enhance the income-support system, to achieve measurable and lasting improvements for people living in poverty.”

Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green caucus leader —

“Amidst trends like automation, part-time and contract work, the nature of our economy and the jobs within it are rapidly shifting. There is strong evidence that basic income can provide greater income security, while saving costs in other areas. We proposed exploring how basic income could work in B.C., because government should have a plan for the changes on the horizon. The panelists are highly qualified, knowledgeable and creative thinkers. I am excited to work with them on this innovative project.”

David Green, chair of the Basic Income Expert Committee and professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC —

“Much of my work centres on policies that can reduce inequality and create a more just society. I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to an in-depth examination of the implications and benefits of a basic income and enhanced income support structures here in B.C.”


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