Discussions of the need to replace BC’s income-assistance system with a “living wage” date back decades, but the BC government will be moving from talk to action this summer with a plan to research and pilot a basic wage.
The work is the result of an agreement struck in the runup to the 2017 election between the NDP and the Green Party. The expert committee announced this week to research the concept features chair David Green, from the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, from the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, and Lindsay Tedds, from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.
The government’s press release says the committee will “oversee independent research to test the feasibility of a basic-income pilot in British Columbia,” and explore how basic-income principles might improve the existing income and social-support system. The committee’s work includes weighing the impact of advances in technology and automation, and other shifts, that are predicted to have a major effect on the labour market in coming decades.
“This is a complex area of study, and our government looks forward to learning more about how to enhance the income-support system to achieve measurable and lasting improvements for people living in poverty,” says Social Development and Policy Reduction Minister Shane Simpson.
BC Green Caucus Leader Andrew Weaver says his party proposed exploring how basic income could work in B.C., because government should have a plan for the changes on the horizon.”
Watch our website and social-media feeds for more on this interesting project.