Greens Applaud Finland’s plan for a Guaranteed Annual Income

(OTTAWA) December 9, 2015 – The Green Party of Canada applauds the recent announcement by Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila, to implement a Basic Annual Income. It will make Finland the first in the world to provide a basic income to every citizen.

The plan would see Finnish citizens receive 800 Euro a month (C$1,170 at current exchange rates).  Although full details won’t be released until November 2016, the new program will allow Finland to eliminate many other earnings-based social programs, including unemployment insurance.

During the 2015 election campaign,Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP (Saanich – Gulf Islands), released the Green Party’s plan to make a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI) a reality for all Canadians. The plan would consolidate various federal tax credits and transfers for all Canadians. However, the Green Party’s plan would not impact Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, child care, social housing or prescriptiondrug benefits.

The Canadian Medical Association endorsed basic income this past summer in a letter to Ontario’s Health Minister, signed by 200 physicians  which called for a pilot project. The Liberal Party endorsed a priority policy resolution to implement a basic income supplement pilot program in at least one Canadian town or city, though the current government has not yet said whether they will implement this idea.

“It’s encouraging to see that the Finnish government is committed to implementing a basic income strategy for their citizens,” stated Elizabeth May. “As I said during the election, I believe that a Guaranteed Livable Income will help the steadily increasing numbers of people trapped in the low-wage economy, and especially Canadian youth who struggle with part-time employment.

“Our plan is about more than reducing poverty – it will reduce the crime rate, improve educational opportunities, and increase access to healthcare, to name a few benefits to Canadians. A Guaranteed Livable Income makes sense for all Canadians, while saving billions of taxpayer’s dollars.”

“The Green Party has another proposed mechanism to supplementa basic income to every Canadian, called Carbon Fee & Dividend,” stated Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, who has long championed a Carbon Dividend. “The Green Party and Citizens Climate Lobby proposal will set fees on fossil fuels where they come out of the ground or across the border. Not a penny would go to government. The fees raised would be revenue neutral, and would go to every Canadian on an equal per capita basis, regardless of income. The higher the fees, the faster that both CO2 emissions and poverty will be reduced.”