One of the best proxies that we have for understanding the effects of a basic income policy from an economic perspective in Canada is the guaranteed income received by seniors.
As part of the PROOF program of research led by Valerie Tarasuk at the University of Toronto we have been studying the effect of policies and public programs to address food insecurity and its detrimental effects on health.
At the University of Calgary – Herb Emery and Lynn McIntyre studied the effect of a basic income guarantee on seniors’ food insecurity and health.
Remarkably they found that food insecurity rates drop by half at people’s 65th birthday as a result of seniors’ income supports.
The research team also compared seniors’ guaranteed income with conditional income assistance programs.
They found that the income guarantee is beneficial to both physical and mental health – functioning in a way similar to wages.
Addressing poverty through a basic income is not just ‘the right thing to do’.