Is it not time for a Guaranteed Livable Income?

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2020-09-29 12:40 [p.240]

Mr. Speaker, as an opposition member of Parliament, I want to begin by thanking the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. I am absolutely confident that she has been working diligently and very hard. She was one of the few ministers to actually say out loud that she would have perhaps handled the WE Charity scandal a little differently.

I would still like to say that I regret we have such a short amount of time to debate this critical legislation. I would like to ask the minister if, instead of constantly trying to fill the gaps, cover the holes and rescue people who are left behind, she thinks it is time to bring in a guaranteed livable income.

Hon. Carla Qualtrough (Delta)
2020-09-29 12:41 [p.240]

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this pandemic has really revealed the gaps in our social safety net. We have taken a more targeted approach than perhaps a basic income approach would have been. We are trying to give more to the people we thought needed it the most, particularly workers and their families, and the most vulnerable.

However, I think there is an important conversation to be had in this country about income support, about how we can seamlessly incentivize transitioning to work instead of putting barriers in place that prevent people from actually working because they so desperately need the services, programs and supports they get when they are on social assistance. There are really important conversations that need to be had.

However, today we are talking about employment income and replacement support for workers who are impacted by COVID-19. Let us not in any way take that as me saying those other conversations are not important.