Wealthy should fund universal basic income survey shows

Most Canadians are in favour of a program but are not prepared to pay for it themselves

Wealthy should fund universal basic income survey shows
Steve Randall

With the pandemic highlighting financial inequality and intensifying fears of job losses and decimated household incomes, many Canadians support a trial of universal basic income (UBI).

Almost six in ten respondents to an Angus Reid Institute poll said that they support the idea of UBI across Canada with proposed levels of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000.

With millions of Canadians having been supported during the pandemic crisis by the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit – and some having maxed-out their entitlements already -  the time appears right to test how a UBI could work nationwide.

But it comes with a huge cost – estimated to be $15-90 billion – and when asked if they would support paying higher taxes to fund the program, 64% of respondents said no.

So, who should pay?
More than six in ten respondents said it should be Canada’s richest individuals through a wealth tax, which also has support as a means to support recovery.

Unsurprisingly, those earning $100,000-$150,000 are among the most opposed to this (64%) along with three quarters of those earning more than $150,000.

No reason to work

There are other divisions too, with respondents split almost evenly on whether Canada can afford a universal basic income.

And there is a sizeable body of opinion (51%) that introducing a basic income would make individuals less inclined to work with the highest earners most likely to hold this view.