Basic Income or Welfare Reform? A summary of the BC Basic Income Panel Report

Michael Smart

On January 28, the BC Expert Panel on Basic Income issued its final report. Media coverage of the report naturally focussed mainly on what the panel did not recommend – a basic income program – but the report offers far more than that.

At 529 pages, plus more than 40 background research papers, the report is a comprehensive assessment of data on low-income families and low-income supports in BC and Canada, and a masterful summary of state-of-the-art research on basic income guarantee proposals. But it is not short.

The report is framed on the objective of “making the province a more just society.” Its 65 recommendations combine targeted cash transfer programs, major reforms of income assistance, extended basic services and in-kind benefits, and improvements to overall program structures and employment standards.

On March 26, a summary of the report was presented to the Finances of the Nation Research Seminar by Rhys Kesselman, emeritus professor at Simon Fraser University and one of the three BC expert panelists (with David Green and Lindsay Tedds). Prof. Kesselman has kindly made his presentation slides available for those who missed the talk.

You can download the slides here.