Basic income: New life for an old idea

A combination of economic uncertainty and political possibility is giving new life to an old policy idea: basic income. In Ottawa, a federal MP is pushing for government research on the subject. Ontario's provincial budget announced a pilot program to try it out. In Quebec, a cabinet minister has been assigned to study the topic. Basic income is capturing political imaginations in Canada. Also known as guaranteed minimum income, universal income, guaranteed annual income, or a negative income tax, basic income is a social policy that would supplant various welfare programs by providing a baseline amount of money to all citizens, regardless of whether they work or meet a means test.