Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Income Assistance in British Columbia: Reforms Along Basic Income Lines

Petit, Gillian and Tedds, Lindsay M. (2020): Income Assistance in British Columbia: Reforms Along Basic Income Lines.

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IA is the Government of British Columbia’s largest income assistance program, with an annual cost of just over $2B and reaching more than 8% of households. It is a program that is very complex to access and has complex eligibility rules and design features. It is also associated with a large amount of stigma and does not foster the financial stability and financial security of its clients. IA is also a poor tool to support those who engage in vital unpaid work (e.g., child care; caregiving for ill, disabled, or elderly family members; volunteering), not only because of the stigma associated with the program but also because the benefit levels are inadequate. The purpose of this paper is to put the IA program through the lens of BI principles to recommend reforms that would move IA closer to BI principles and away from being a “funder of last resort.” Taken together, reforms based on BI principles should make IA a more inclusive program that recognizes the worth of all people. These reforms will also help reduce income poverty rates and poverty depths, preventing poverty, and help those caught in or about to be caught in a poverty trap.

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