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Commons committee asks Liberals to look to basic income to help 'gig' workers

Last Updated Jun 11, 2019 at 11:44 am PST

(Cormac Mac Sweeney, 1310 NEWS)

OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee is urging the government to take a deeper look at the concept of a guaranteed minimum income to help a growing cohort of “gig economy” workers.

The MPs’ report on declines in traditional, full-time employment in favour of short-term contract work says the government needs to explore new types of income supports “that do not depend upon someone having a job.”

To that end, the committee calls on federal officials to review a minimum income program, which is typically a no-strings-attached government payment to every citizen, as an option to help those between gigs who fall through the existing social safety net.

The report calls for a revamp of the employment-insurance system to widen the safety net by reducing the minimum number of hours someone must work before qualifying for benefits and boosting the value of payments.

MPs on the committee make a nod to some recent federal efforts, such as a soon-to-be-launched tax credit for individuals to offset the cost of work-training courses.

But here, too, the committee urges the government to pay close attention to the design of the Canada Training Benefit to make sure it is accessible to low-wage, part-time or self-employed workers and to make every effort to ensure they use the program.

The Canadian Press