Livable Income

Basic Income Guarantee

Since 2012 the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income (WGLI) has made Basic Income Guarantee a focus of its work. You can read all about our campaign for a BIG pilot project for PEI on the website: Campaign for a Basic Income Guarantee: C-BIG PEI.

The Working Group for a Livable Income is a member of Coalition Canada: basic income/revenu de bas, a cross-country alliance of basic income advocacy groups and networks that is advancing the development of a national movement for basic income in Canada, building alliances and collaborating with advocacy groups, networks and individuals supporting a just recovery in Canada from the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the actions the Coalition has taken is a letter campaign supporting Prince Edward Island’s request to partner with the Federal Government to design and implement a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) for PEI. Hundreds of letters of support have been sent to PEI’s party leaders and to the Prime Minister and other MPs supporting PEI’s request to partner with the Federal Government.

In November of 2023, members of Coalition Canada and WGLI released the report, A Proposal for a Guaranteed Basic Income Benefit in Prince Edward Island. Championed by public servants, politicians, and advocates from PEI and across the country, this report is the outcome of more than 2 years of collaboration and will help guide crucial conversations on poverty reduction and income assistance in PEI and across the country. The PEI Working Group for a Livable Income, of which Cooper Institute is a member, believe the report establishes beyond doubt that a province-wide guaranteed basic income in PEI is feasible and realistic. They say that with the proposed model, low-income Islanders who constantly fall through the cracks of social welfare systems would gain an income floor and the security to live in good health and dignity. 

Principles of Basic Income Guarantee

A successful Basic Income Guarantee for Prince Edward Island will:

  1. Be universal and unconditional to all adult residents, subject to income, but regardless of work status or relationship status.
  2. Recognize that not all people have the same basic needs and some will need more support in addition to a Basic Income Guarantee.
  3. Transform some social programs and services, such as income support, while maintaining others, such as disability support.
  4. Be administered through the income tax system, and respond to people's changing income levels in a timely manner.
  5. Be sufficient to provide for people's basic needs. To us, this means enough to pay rent or mortgage and monthly utility bills, to buy nutritious food and medicine, to use transportation, to continue learning, to access childcare or eldercare, to participate in the community, and to cover emergencies.
  6. Be grounded in human rights, as opposed to charity, and be provided with dignity and respect for recipients.
  7. Recognize that human health and wellbeing depend on the health and sustainability of the natural environment.
  8. Be designed and planned based on inclusive and meaningful public consultation, with a continuing role for community throughout implementation.
  9. Make investment in people the priority for all government spending and economic development.
  10. Be evidence-based, considering both quantitative and qualitative evidence, and applying lenses to ensure results are equitable for all people. Important lenses to apply include gender, diversity, age, ability, mental health, class, culture, language and literacy, sexuality and gender identity, and geography.
  11. Be monitored, measured, and evaluated.


2014 Social Justice Symposium Resources

In September 2014 Cooper Institute held its first annual Social Justice Symposium, and it was on the topic of Basic Income Guarantee. Here are the resources from the Symposium: