British Columbia’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. British Columbia’s financial outlook is being hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the provincial government says a partial recovery is on the horizon next year.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. British Columbia’s financial outlook is being hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the provincial government says a partial recovery is on the horizon next year.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Targeted cash, social supports would be more effective than basic income: UBC panel

The panel made 65 recommendations for various policy changes

A panel from the University of B.C. has delivered a report not recommending basic income as the most just approach.

The results, unveiled in a 529 page report based on 40 research projects, were presented to the public Thursday (Jan. 28).

“Our evidence suggests that a mixed, tailored system is the best approach for positive change,” said Dr. David Green, professor at the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC, and the panel’s chair. “British Columbians would stand to benefit the most with different approaches in different circumstances.”

The panel made 65 recommendations for various policy changes, ranging from basic dental coverage and rental housing assistance for all households at low incomes to targeted cash transfers for specific groups, such as youth aging out of care and people fleeing domestic violence.

However, in a discussion of the paper, Green said that targeted cash payments need to be paired with social supports. The report pointed to people escaping domestic violence, where it called the system of supports “inadequate.” The panel found that more than 50 per cent of people fleeing abuse experience financial abuse, and notes that the current income assistance program does not provide the money needed to buy furniture, food and clothing for their children.

“If the person does not have sufficient income to clothe, bathe and feed a child, and income assistance is aware of the situation, their children may be taken by the Ministry of Children and Family Development,” the report said.

“This makes victims fearful of applying for income assistance in the first place.”

More to come.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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