BUSINESS
04/17/2018 09:55 EDT | Updated 04/18/2018 09:42 EDT

Basic Income For Canada Would Cost $43 Billion A Year, Budget Watchdog Says

The program's $76-billion price tag would be offset by $32.9 billion in savings from other programs.

Jean-Denis Frechette, Parliamentary Budget Officer, speaks to the Senate committee on National Finance on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Tues. Oct. 31, 2017. A new report from Frechette's office says it could cost federal coffers more than $76 billion a year to provide a national, guaranteed minimum income similar to the one being tested in Ontario.

OTTAWA — A federal spending watchdog says it could cost federal coffers more than $76 billion a year to provide a national, guaranteed minimum income similar to the one being tested in Ontario.

The parliamentary budget officer says the federal government would have to find about $43.1 billion to cover the full cost of the program because Ottawa already spends about $32.9 billion a year on support to low-income Canadians.

A guaranteed minimum income often means different things to different people, but at its core it can be described as a no-strings-attached benefit that governments provide to citizens instead of various targeted social benefits.

Earlier on HuffPost Canada:


The budget office report released today estimates that annual payments under a federal program to eligible individuals would amount to $16,989, while couples would receive $24,027, before deductions for any income earned.

More than 7.5 million people would benefit from the measure, the report says.

The federal Liberals have been lukewarm to the idea at a national level, arguing that the Canada Child Benefit, among other measures, amounts to a guaranteed minimum income.

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