As more than 7 million Canadians find themselves in need of federal aid in order to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll finds many support the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Canada.
According to the Angus Reid Institute, three-in-five respondents favour a UBI of $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000.
And when it comes to who would pay for that program – which could cost between $15 billion to $90 billion – 61 per cent of respondents say the funds should come from the “wealthy,” who should pay more in taxes.
However, those higher income Canadians are “less enthused” about the idea, according to the poll.
Canadians are also closely divided about whether a UBI would make people feel less inclined to work (55 per cent), while 45 per cent of respondents disagree.
“Further, Canadians are divided over whether a UBI is too expensive (54 per cent) or if Canada can afford it (46 per cent),” reads the survey.
In April, the federal government rejected a call from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to turn the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) into a universal benefit.
The poll found that Canadians who voted for the Liberals or NDP in the last election support the UBI, while past Conservative voters are not in favour.
And while women and young people are more likely to support a UBI, the poll found that, “across age and gender, at least half in every category express support.”
However, despite support levels, the poll found that at least 48 per cent of residents in every region of the country feel a UBI would be “too expensive” for Canada, a number which rises to 66 per cent in Alberta and 58 per cent in Quebec.