A Basic Income Guarantee in Canada: Challenges and Possibilities

Katherine Cuff is a Professor in the Economics Department at McMaster University and the Canadian Research Chair in Public Economic Theory. Katherine’s research interests include optimal taxation, fiscal federalism, and redistribution policies. Katherine was one of the inaugural recipients of the McMaster University Scholar title, honouring junior faculty who have distinguished themselves as international scholars. She is the Managing Editor of the Canadian Journal of Economics and has also served as both an Editor of FinanzArchiv/Public Finance Analysis and an Associate Editor of Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques.


Dr. Katherine Cuff
Professor of Economics at McMaster University. Canadian Research Chair in Public Economics


October 3, 2019 - 1:30 pm



Burlington Art Gallery   View map

There is renewed public interest in introducing a guaranteed basic income for Canadians.  The interest is partly driven by the inability of current redistribution policies to reduce growing income inequality and eliminate poverty, and by increasing concerns about the economic impact of globalization and workplace automation. Basic income guarantees can take different forms – from a universal income payment to all persons to a more targeted income payment that ensures no one falls below a given income level. Each form has its own challenges, and all will require government financing, and could introduce negative work incentives. Providing a basic income in Canada also poses a particular challenge given the overlapping responsibilities of the provincial and federal governments in providing income support to individuals. Current public support for a basic income is also not without opposition, and debate about basic income is indeed not new to Canada. This lecture reviews the various issues, and discusses potential ways forward, in providing a basic income guarantee in Canada.


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