Background
On July 3, 2018 the Province announced the creation of an expert committee to study the potential for using a basic income approach in its efforts to reduce poverty and prepare for the emerging economy. This is related to a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the government and the B.C. Green Party caucus.

The Committee
The committee members are:
David Green, Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia (Chair)
Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University
Lindsay Tedds, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Project Overview
The committee will oversee independent research to assess the feasibility of a basic-income in British Columbia. It will also look at how basic-income principles might be used to transform and enhance the existing income and social-support system. The committee will look at:

  • impacts on the incidence and depth of poverty in the province, and
  • impacts on labour market disruptions caused by advances in technology, automation and the transition to a low-carbon economy as well as other predicted labour market shifts over coming decades.

“Basic income” refers to a system under which payments are provided to eligible individuals unconditionally by the government. Basic income may be delivered through direct payments to individuals or through the personal income tax system.

  • The expert committee is addressing questions related to:
    the design and delivery of basic income systems
  • the economic, social and budgetary implications of basic income
  • how existing programs work
  • whether these systems could be improved using basic income principles

Request for Submissions
Between November 15, 2018 and March 15, 2019, organizations and individuals with an interest in basic income were invited to share their input by email or through a feedback form. Viewpoints in support of or opposed to basic income were invited. The consultation process is now closed and feedback will be used to support the expert committee’s research.

Questions to Consider
Principles

  1. What do you see as the main principles of a basic income?

Design

  1. What should be the targeted levels of support from a basic income for persons or families with no other source of income? Should these support levels vary by population group or attributes of persons, and if so, how?
  2. What should be the elements of an optimal basic income system for BC (with regard for the budgetary capacity of the province)?

Population Groups

  1. Who should be eligible for basic income support?
  2. What vulnerable populations would benefit most from a basic income or basic income principles?

Pros and Cons

  1. What advantages or drawbacks do you see for a basic income relative to the existing system of supports in BC?
  2. Is basic income a feasible, effective, desirable and/or affordable approach for the province of BC to:
  • reduce poverty;
  • provide a more adequate safety net for persons experiencing periodic low incomes; and/or
  • address labour market disruptions resulting from the emerging economy?

Benefit Delivery

  1. How frequently do you think a basic income should be paid?
  2. Through what administrative structure should a basic income be delivered (e.g. personal income tax system, direct provincial payments, such as through WorkBC or some other mechanism)? What would be the strengths of your proposed approach? What unintended consequences should be considered?

Financial Considerations

  1. If you support the institution of a basic income in BC, how do you propose that it be financed by the province? If by additional revenues, from which sources? If from reduced spending on and/or reforms of other programs, which and how?

Privacy and Acknowledgements
The committee may have further questions for those making submissions but unless that is the case, submissions will not be acknowledged. Submissions will not be made public by the committee. However, unless a submission specifically indicates that it is provided in confidence, by submitting a document the person or organization making the submission gives the committee permission to make reference to the submission and its authors, to provide the submission to researchers working on projects commissioned by the committee and to use quotes from the submission in the committee’s written material with appropriate attribution.