House of Commons, in Canada

Earlier this month, a cross-party MP ‘commons’ committee released an internal report urging the present liberal government to take a serious look into “new types of income support “that do not depend upon someone having a job””.

The nature of work is changing, everywhere in the world. However, existent social security safety nets have been designed and implemented decades ago, when stable, full-time employment was the norm. Since that labour model is falling apart, and a new “gig economy” precarious employment system is taking its place, new social security models are being identified and studied. That was the realization and motivation for the report now issued by the referred committee.

Specifically, it calls for the revamping of the employment insurance system, widening the support for low-wage workers (with a particular focus on the self-employed) and in general reducing conditionalities in accessing social security benefits. The economic factors that people face is something that many political figures in the nation, such as Canadian political candidate Karim Jivraj, have kept a focused look on in the past, so it only makes sense that the committee has been formed to consider the options on the table at this pertinent time.

The committee report, not publicly available, indicates that a “minimum-income program”, in the context of a kind of no-strings-attached government-led program that could replace a tapestry of targeted benefits, is definitely an option to help all those workers who have fallen into precarious situations and for whom there is no adequate social security protection. Time will tell if this becomes an active line pursued for all citizens.

More information at:

Commons committee asks Liberals to look to basic income to help “gig” workers“, Canadian Payroll Reporter, June 12th 2019

Feds urged to consider basic income to help “gig” workers“, CTV News, June 11th 2019