In an age where there is uncertainty around the future of work due to modern innovations such as automation and artificial intelligence coupled with the realities of variable economies and the potential for mass interruptions in the labour market, there is an ever-increasing need to ensure that an effective social safety net is in place to help individuals be successful. This is especially true for young people. Choices for Youth (CFY) conducted a survey of almost 500 young people in 2020 and a Basic Income was identified as the single most powerful policy intervention that could be made to support youth.
There is already evidence to support the impact that a Basic Income would have on the lives of youth in our province. During COVID-19, many young people availed of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which gave them increased flexibility to explore educational pursuits and passions. Many youth used this flexibility to take the first step in pursuing post-secondary education, to transition to a new career path, or to simply have the financial ability to be a full-time caregiver to a child or other family member. Unfortunately, once CERB ran out, these moderate lifestyle changes were not sustainable.
CFY has been a strong advocate for Basic Income since hearing of the impact it can have on the lives of youth in NL. We are a founding member of the Basic Income Coalition and continue to advocate for and conduct research on Basic Income.
Jen Crowe, [former] Manager of Strategic Initiatives
“When people’s basic needs are met it unlocks their ability to chart a path forward towards their other goals.”
Although NL already has the Income Support system to provide for those in need, it simply does not provide enough money for people to live off. We believe that a Basic Income tied to the provincial Market Basket Measure is a more equitable approach that gives individuals and families enough money to live and in turn addresses many of the most significant social challenges facing youth – food security, gender equity, the rental housing crisis, and mental health.
The research around Basic Income speaks to its potential. The data shows that a Basic Income provides a more effective social safety net without reducing the number of hours young people are interested in working or their contributions to society. A Basic Income bolsters young people’s ability to get out of poverty and helps them create a better life for themselves and their families, a net positive for society.
CFY is pleased with the progress being made around Basic Income over the last year. An All-Party Committee on Basic Income has been formed in NL and we are anticipating a formal recommendation being put forward in Fall 2023 on the topic of a Basic Income in NL. CFY was happy to see the implementation of a Basic Income for Youth in Care accessing Residential Services beginning in the Fall of 2022. This increased income allows these vulnerable youth to unlock their potential and action some of their goals moving forward.