NDP motion calls for transitioning CERB into guaranteed basic income

A member of parliament from the New Democratic Party is introducing a motion to convert the Canada Emergency Response Benefit into a guaranteed livable basic income.

The motion from Leah Gazan, the representative for Winnipeg Centre, is calling on the government to introduce legislation and work with provincial and territorial governments and Indigenous peoples to implement a guaranteed basic income for all Canadians over the age of 18, including single people, students, families, seniors, people with disabilities, temporary foreign workers, permanent residents and refugee claimants.

Read: Could the pandemic prompt employment insurance reforms?

It suggested the program account for regional differences in living costs, be paid on a regular basis and shouldn’t require Canadians to participate in the labour market, education or job training to be eligible. It should also be in addition to any future government services or income supports meant to meet “special, exceptional and other distinct needs and goals.”

On Twitter, Gazan said a petition on her website to support the motion had garnered more than 5,000 signatures in 24 hours.

While the CERB is due to end in early October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a plan is in the works to move Canadians who don’t qualify for employment insurance — such as gig or contract workers — to a parallel transition benefit. The program will contain access to training and the ability to work more hours without having as steep a clawback in benefit payments.

Read: Trudeau says feds will create EI like benefit for gig, contract workers