Income Security

Income Security is one’s ability to pay for their basic needs without fear of losing their income source. Factors such as lower minimum wage rates and temporary/casual employment can contribute to income insecurity.

There are a few possible policy options to increase the amount of income security in Canada. One option is increasing the minimum wage to a living wage. Alberta recently made steps to come close to this policy option. On October 1, 2018, Alberta increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour. However, the United Way of Alberta estimates that at least $16.31 per hour is necessary for an individual to afford basic needs.

Basic income is another policy option to try to achieve income security. Basic income is different than other forms of social assistance in that it guarantees a minimum income level to individuals regardless of their employment status. Ontario recently launched a basic income pilot project that would give about $17,000 per year to individuals who qualified and $24,000 per year for qualifying couples (Government of Ontario, 2018). The project was going to measure outcomes such as food security, mental health, healthcare usage, housing stability, education and training, and employment and labour market participation. However, the Ontario basic income pilot project will wind down as of March 2019.

British Columbia is currently in the exploratory phase of a similar basic income pilot project. In order to know the efficacy of basic income on a larger scale, it will first need to be implemented and researched extensively by a province.


Featured Resources

The Impact of COVID-19 on Lower-Income Populations

'Basic Income' or 'Bait and Switch'? - Caledon Institute of Social Policy (Commentary)

Poverty Reduction and Disability Income - Caledon Institute of Social Policy (Paper)

Cross Canada Check-Up: Provincial/Territorial Findings from Canada’s Neighbourhood Financial Health Index - Prosper Canada (Report)

Guaranteed Income or Guaranteed Incomes? - Caledon Institute of Social Policy (Paper)

Minimum Wage, Maximum Wager in Alberta - Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Minimum Wage Rates in Canada: 1965-2015 - Caledon Institute of Social Policy (Report)

Poverty and Prosperity in Nunavut - Caledon Insitute of Social Policy

Measuring and Responding to Income Poverty (University of Calgary School of Public Policy)

The Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage in Saskatchewan

Working for a Living Wage 2018: Making Paid Work Meet Basic Family Needs in Metro Vancouver

A Basic Right

Basic Income and Gender Equality: Reflections on the Potential for Good Policy in Canada

Basic Income for Working-Age Canadians: A Comprehensive Perspective

Implications of a Basic Income Guarantee for Household Food Insecurity

Toward a National Guaranteed Basic Income

Universal Basic Income and the Cost Objection: What are we waiting for

A Basic Income for Canadians What Would Change?

Ideas presented here do not reflect the COH and the Homeless Hub.