This week, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce participated in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s (CCC) Virtual Annual General Meeting, where chambers from across Canada voted on policies the network will advocate for in Ottawa.
The Hamilton Chamber advanced a resolution, co-sponsored by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, calling for the Canadian government to create a basic income pilot project and assess the potential costs, benefits, pitfalls, challenges and outcomes of a nationwide basic income social assistance program. The proposal was adopted by he gathering of chamber attendees from across the country and is now one of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s policy resolutions that can be advocated for with the federal government.
“I’m thrilled that our colleagues agreed that the time is ripe for the CCC to have a position on one of the most topical and potentially transformational public policy proposals in our national discourse, guaranteed basic income,” said Keanin Loomis, CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “One could very easily see this as being a major issue in the ext election.”
“From the perspectives of our Members, some of the great appeals of Guaranteed Basic Income are that it could have the effect of streamlining a complicated welfare system and enhancing efforts to build a skilled workforce while injecting money into communities that gets spent overwhelmingly at local businesses,” added Charla Robinson, President of the cosponsoring Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Hamilton and Thunder Bay were two communities chosen by the previous provincial government for a three-year basic income pilot project. That project was cut short after one year due to a change in government. The Hamilton and Thunder Bay Chambers then advocated that the federal government take up the project.
The chambers suggest a basic income pilot project would serve evidence-based policymakers by helping governments understand whether basic income payments: are cost-effective, fiscally sustainable, influence recipients’ socio-economic outcomes, their participation in the labour market, and/or their uptake of education/training opportunities; alter participants’ use of existing social and/or income redistribution programs, and; lead to an increase in entrepreneurial activity.