Dr. Smith-Carrier discusses need for basic income during recent panel
November 16, 2020
Dr. Tracy Smith-Carrier, Associate Professor in King's School of Social Work, was a member of a panel discussion that was part of the Basic Income Forum, which took place on November 4. 2020.
During the panel discussion, Dr. Smith-Carrier shared her knowledge and perspective as an income security researcher on the need for a Basic Income. Joining her on the panel were Senator Kim Pate (a long-standing advocate in the penal and justice systems in Canada), Ron Hikel (who administered the Mincome experiment in Manitoba in the 1970s) and Floyd Marinescu (CEO of C4Media and founder of UBI Works). The panel was moderated by Maev Beaty, a Stratford actor, who ran through a series of questions on why implementing a basic income to promote income security should be considered.
The panel discussion can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur8NJkzTZH8.
“It was an honour to be part of this expert panel. The panelists were all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about ensuring people have the resources they need to thrive in today’s volatile world,” says Dr. Smith-Carrier. She explains the panel was instrumental in addressing concerns that basic income will promote a work disincentive and that it would be too costly to implement.
The panel stated research on basic income globally demonstrates that people do not stop working when they have access to income benefits. While some might use the funds to further their education and training or to care for young children, most would argue these reasons are beneficial for the individuals themselves, and to society.
“The cost argument needs to be assessed in light of the immense price tag we currently have in trying to reckon (ineffectively) with the symptoms of income insecurity. Basic income could easily be funded through the introduction of wealth, inheritance, and estate taxes on those at the top of the income distribution, as Canada is the only G7 country that does not impose such taxes currently,” explains Dr. Smith-Carrier.
The panel also explained that people’s anxiety and mental health concerns would invariably ease if they knew that they had a buffer in times of financial or health crisis. A basic income (a regular cash transfer to individuals) is offered directly through the tax system to anyone who needs it without any stigma or conditions attached to its receipt.
Canada already has forms of basic income, the Canada Child Benefit and pension programs for seniors for examples, which have proven to be effective in reducing poverty for older adults and families.
“Now, is the time to do away with temporary emergency benefits and implement a permanent, adequate basic income program that will benefit everyone,” says Dr. Smith-Carrier.
Dr. Smith-Carrier also conducted several media interviews, including 90.5 MyFMRadio Exeter, 107.1 Juice FM Stratford, and 107.7 2day FM Stratford, to further discuss the issue of Basic Income.
United Way Perth-Huron and its Social Research and Planning Council reached out to Dr. Smith-Carrier after one of the members of the Forum’s organizing committee met her at a presentation she had given on basic income in Clinton, Ontario.
“I have been a poverty researcher for years now, and have come to realize, having read much of the vast international research on cash transfer programs, that a basic income is a viable and essential strategy for not only eradicating poverty, but for ensuring income security for everyone,” she explains.