Standing Committee on Status of Women
discusses guaranteed income - 2006
CANADA:Standing Committee on the Status of Women
(FEWO NUMBER 008 1st SESSION 39th PARLIAMENT) EVIDENCE
Study of Economic Security of Senior Women
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Excerpted from the full minutes:
Hon. Maria Minna (Beaches—East York, Lib.):
So the solutions have to be multi-approach, multi-target.
One of the things that has been discussed—I just throw this out—
in addition to the child tax credit, which we have tried, is a
guaranteed income, I guess, for all... If we were to get all of our
programs into one pot and try to create in this country a form of
guaranteed income, would that go a long way toward helping or not?
Have there been studies by the council on those things?
Ms. Sheila Regehr (Director, National Council of Welfare)
One of the things a kind of guaranteed living
income would do is remove a whole portion of pathology from
people, those for whom it really is income poverty that matters—
people who are competent, and capable, who know how to manage
their money, whose lives are in order, but who just don't have
enough money. It would remove that huge problem from other parts of the system,
and it would free up a lot of other money. It would then also allow
you to really focus on particular areas that need more specific
attention, such as people with disabilities, addictions, and those sorts
of things where different types of resources really are important.
Hon. Maria Minna: That kind of program would also take a
tremendous load off our health care system, I would think, because
of the fact that people who are constantly struggling financially are
constantly struggling for nutrition for their children and a host of
other things that they can't attend to early on in their lives, and that's
Hon. Maria Minna: ... perhaps we could bring all of this back in
the fall with an eye toward making recommendations on a poverty
strategy for women, developing a poverty strategy solution
ourselves—with the help of the supporters we have here today; that
would be great.
You said earlier that most women, regardless...or they're poor in
the first place because of unpaid work. On the issue that I suggested
earlier, the guaranteed income, would that help, in that case? And
how would that work? Ultimately we're looking to address a lot of
the things that I have just mentioned that I think could be done, but
at the same time, how do we actually do a holistic approach to
address the core problem, which is unpaid work for women; would
income security do that?
Ms. Sheila Regehr: I'll answer the first bit very quickly and let
John talk about budget impact. I have, what, 20 seconds left now?
Yes, a guaranteed annual income would address a number of
things, I think, as long as it's developed so that it understands unpaid
work and recognizes that women, even if they're in the workforce
full time, still have to look after their children when they come home
and on weekends and all of those things. You have to recognize that
everybody does this to some extent. The time and the money have to
kind of match.
So yes, the money would answer some of it in terms of a
guaranteed annual income. I think there are still probably other
elements around unpaid work that you'd have to look at. You
mentioned EI, maternity and parental benefits, CPP dropouts, and
things like that.
Excerpted from the full minutes: