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Opinion: bold climate action needs a basic income

A new opinion piece from Green Resilience Project steering committee members Mitchell Beer and Sheila Regehr makes the case for including basic income in Canada’s climate action plan. 

The piece, published in the Hill Times, explores the link between income security, climate change and community resilience. Income security, it argues, is a necessary foundation for allowing individuals and communities across Canada to take part in the transition to a lower-carbon economy. Without financial security, it’s almost impossible to build or maintain resilience in the face of climate change and to organize local climate action.

“The safety of communities across Canada depends on bold climate action,” the piece states. “But the shift to a low-carbon economy will mean big changes for all of us—changes that could affect how we live, work, get around and more. That’s why it will only be possible with financial policies that can ease anxieties spurred by major change and the economic risk that accompanies it.”

A basic income program could ease the uncertainty that accompanies economic transition and give communities the resources to make their own decisions about how to take action on climate change. Past basic income pilot programs have delivered better health, access to education, decreased violence, more time and money to spend on community and care work, and much more.

“​​We have the solution. We know that it works. It’s time for Canada to think big on climate and commit to a basic income so that no one is left behind in the shift to a low-carbon economy.”

You can read the full opinion piece here (subscription required).