Basic Income Canada Network - Réseau
canadien pour le revenu garanti

This newsletter highlights ongoing growth in calls for a basic income, using different terms and a range of acronyms—and in various emergency and more permanent versions. In addition, the federal government is continuing to build on and adapt COVID-19 response measures as gaps are revealed. It can all be a bit confusing for ordinary people and experts alike.

We would all be better off if a basic income had been in place pre-pandemic, and now more than ever basic come has an essential place as we emerge into a still-unpredictable recovery and the process of rebuilding for a better, new normal.

We are immensely grateful to everyone who donates and supports our work in so many ways, enabling BICN to be a source of reliable information, whether people are new to the subject or looking for deeper analysis and policy options.

BICN is closely connected to existing and new networks across the country, including our recent offshoot, Basic Income Canada Youth Network. If you’d like to get involved or hear more about what they are doing, you can contact BICYN youth coordinators Robert Kiley and Chloe Halpenny at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Principles First

Basic income dialogue has become flooded with many different ideas and opinions. Some refer to a guaranteed livable income, or a basic income guarantee or a universal basic income. The growing list of different terms and acronyms means everyone has to read further to find out what they really mean. It is essential that basic income supporters hang on to the principles of the kind of basic income we want, to assess proposals as well as critiques and engage meaningfully in all of these discussions.

When politicians and influential policy thinkers start coming on board with the idea of a basic income it is more important than ever to let them know we support them.

So please keep up the communication with your local MP and MPP or MLA and others. Share newsletters and articles or just drop them a very short note saying you appreciate what they’re doing if they are already supporting a basic income.

Calls for a basic income have recently come from 50 members of the Senate, and from former top public servant Mel Cappe and former premier Bob Rae.

Another statement last week came from the leader of the Bloc Québecois, as he explained the need for a balance between the needs of students and the calls from some businesses for more workers. He said that students are not irresponsible as they are sometimes characterized, adding:

And they [students] are not either merchandise that you deliver to somebody who says they need it. We have to make sure that they have a base income. That they are encouraged to go and work and the more they work, the more money is left for them. That's the principle that should be put forward. (Yves-François Blanchet)

Blanchet’s principle applies not just to students, not just to young people, but to all of us. We are all human beings, not targets of others’ judgment or stereotyping, and not ‘merchandise'. We are all trying to get by, belong, contribute, live with dignity and have a future.

BICN’s AGM Postponed

Please note that BICN’s Annual General Meeting normally held in May is being postponed, as is the production of the Annual Report this year. Because of COVID-19’s health and economic impacts, there are growing calls for a national basic income in Canada and in other countries, as well as calls for a global basic income.

In light of this, we are focusing our efforts on collaborating with allies everywhere, including politicians and other organizations, promoting the expertise and experience that exists across our networks, and taking strategic action to keep building the momentum.

We may postpone the AGM for up to six months, but as with all else, the course of the pandemic will guide what we do. In addition, because this is a time when we need stability and experience in our organization, elections for Directors will be postponed as well. Current directors, including three executive members, who would be up for re-election, have agreed to continue to serve until elections can be held with the AGM.

Thank you everyone for your understanding and continued support. I hope you keep social connections strong even as we must physically distance. Be kind, stay safe.

Sheila Regehr
Chair, BICN