Minimum wage

Earlier this year, Ontario’s Liberal government announced it would launch a pilot project to study guaranteed minimum incomes (GMI) as social support. A recent history of a base wage.

3: Millions of dollars spent on a 1988 report into Ontario’s welfare system that rejected a GMI for low-income residents. “We ultimately think a [GMI]… is too passive [an] approach to meeting people’s needs,” the report states.

5: Canadian Royal Commissions and reports recommending some form of GMI between 1971 and 1985. The governments of Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau both examined the implementation of such programs.

10: Billions of dollars in annual costs to implement a GMI system for all Canadians, according to a 1991 report released by the Economic Council of Canada.

46: Percent of Canadians voicing their support for a GMI in a 2013 poll. Quebecers were most likely to agree with the policy and Albertans least likely.

194: Physicians asking Ontario’s Ministry of Health in 2015 to implement a basic income guarantee as a “sustainable program that provides health benefits to lower-income Ontarians.”

1974: Year Manitoba provided residents of Dauphin with a “mincome,” or supplement equal to 60% of Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off. The five-year pilot project, which cost $17 million, lowers hospitalizations and improves educational outcomes.

12,000 to 15,000: Appropriate dollar amount for an individual GMI, according to Conference Board of Canada chief economist and senior vice-president Glen Hodgson in 2011: “It would be a means of providing material income support without governments telling people how to run their lives.”

About the Author

Steve Brearton


Steve Brearton is a freelance writer in Toronto.

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