Cost of Living

Is a basic income too good — or too expensive — to be true in Canada?

As the earliest adopters of Canada's Emergency Relief Benefit brace for the four-month program to come to an end, there's a debate around whether Canada should evolve the temporary program into something more permanent.

Canada Emergency Relief Benefit success sparks argument for a more universal basic income

Part of a cheque for the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a taxable award from the Canadian government made every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)
Listen10:06

When the Canadian economy started to shut down in March, millions of Canadians lost their source of income.

In response, the federal government stepped-in with the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB.

It's easy to qualify for the monthly $2000 cheque, with few questions asked. But the benefit only lasts for four months, and that means early applicants will run out fairly soon.

  • CBC's business and economics show, Cost of Living, is back to its regular spring timeslot on CBC Radio One. Catch it Friday May 22 at 11:30 a.m. local time, or Tuesday, May 26 at 11:30 p.m. (midnight in Newfoundland).

As the debate grows, Cost of Living executive producer Tracy Johnson digs into whether Canada should evolve the temporary program into a permanent basic income.


Click "listen" at the top of the page to hear this segment, or download the Cost of Living podcast.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now