Report on COVID-19 and Gender in PEI Calls for a Basic Income Guarantee

On October 2, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, one of our founding member groups, released the report Gender and COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island: In the Words of Women-Identifying Islanders, March to July 2020. <https://peistatusofwomen.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/WEB-PEIACSW-Gender-and-COVID-19-Project-Oct-2020.pdf>
This report includes conversations with over 20 PEI women about their experiences during the global pandemic and their hopes for changes that will come in the future in the wake of this health and economic crisis. One of the themes that emerges most strongly in the report: the need for a Basic Income Guarantee.  

Here are some of the participants’ calls for Basic Income Guarantee:“Things we thought, or were told weren’t possible, like basic income, happened. It was possible all along! People were unconditionally supported, without having to qualify. Policies can change overnight. Government can respond quickly. Money can be found. We can just do it if we choose.”“I just think, if we can afford the $2,000 a month CERB, then why not basic income? A liveable income is possible. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone had enough to get by on?” “Enough to eat, a safe place to live, a life of dignity … these are all human rights we can afford.”“It’s past time for all Canadians to be included and valued, and PEI can show the way by becoming the first province to implement a basic income. Basic income would go a long way to recognizing the unpaid and undervalued work and care that women provide.”    

The report’s policy insights include a challenge to the PEI government to make basic income a pillar of its recovery plan: “The Province of PEI should work tirelessly with the federal government to ensure a permanent Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) program launches in PEI and is built to be scaled up to all of Canada.”

In the words of one participant, “Basic income is possible. Things can be different.”

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