In December 2016, the Legislative Assembly of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) unanimously agreed to “pursue a partnership with the federal government for the establishment of a universal basic income pilot project” in the province.
The federal government responded on April 6, 2017, offering “data to support P.E.I. in developing a pilot” but not mentioning financial assistance — without which P.E.I. is unlikely to initiate a pilot study. The letter came from Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean Yves Duclos, who has himself expressed interest in the idea of a guaranteed minimum income (what is commonly called, in Canada, a “basic income”).
According to Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, who proposed the initial motion to seek federal support, the update from Duclos is “very disappointing” and entails that “it’s unlikely we’re going to see any material change here.”
However, Bevan-Baker also said that P.E.I. would continue its efforts to seek support from the federal government and that, if no federal funding is offered, the province might look into a smaller scale pilot study in one community or region: “Of course I’d love to see it tip to tip, but you know, if we have to settle for something smaller that could be funded solely through the provincial treasury, then at least that would be something.”
Sarah MacMillan, “Update on basic-income effort ‘very disappointing’,” CBCNews, April 7, 2017.
Reviewed by Dawn Howard
Photo: Prince Edward Island Provincial Flag CC BY-NC 2.0 Jamie McCaffrey