Basic Income Guarantee

Toronto Arts Council supports a federal Basic Income Guarantee

TAC has joined the leaders of Canada’s largest municipal arts councils for the very first time to advocate on behalf of the artists and residents of Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg. See the opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail, on March 20, 2021, and in La Presse on March 25. PDF of the article here

On February 12, 2021, Toronto Arts Council submitted a letter to the 2021 Federal Pre-Budget Consultations.TAC-Budget-2021-Submission

The time for a federal Basic Income Guarantee is now:

  • Canada’s arts sector has been devastated by the pandemic. And, it is the individual creative artist who has paid the greatest price for this loss: hours worked in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector declined 36.6% in 2020 including 60.7% for those in the performing arts.
  • Canada’s Employment Insurance program has not adapted to the realities of the gig economy or the self-employed and most freelance artists do not meet EI’s required criteria.
  • Artists face income insecurity as a result of their dependence on precarious short-term contracts combined with their lack of access to benefits, paid sick leave, or employment insurance.
  • Income precarity has always disproportionately affected vulnerable and marginalized communities including people with disabilities, LGBTQ2+, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, refugees and immigrants. 

The opportunity for a federal Basic Income Guarantee is now: CERB and CRB have proven that it is possible to provide meaningful support to individuals facing income precarity, and the implementation of these programs has generated widespread public support for a permanent program to address basic income.

Note: A Basic Income Guarantee is not the same as Universal Basic Income which is being widely dismissed as too expensive. With a Basic Income Guarantee, the amount of the benefit is increased or reduced in line with income, making it both more affordable and more politically feasible. 

Artists play a unique role in this country, and never has that been clearer than today. At the outset of the pandemic Canada’s artists responded to the needs of Canadians from coast to coast. They learned new technologies and harnessed their imaginations and talents to digital platforms and innovative outdoor performances. They reached out to seniors in care and front-line workers and they gave us company when anxiety threatened to overwhelm. Their art reminded us that better times will come again, and that joy can come in unexpected places.

Our city and country are depending on artists and arts organizations to re-engage the public in the life of our communities when it is safe to do so.  Our artists will be key to bringing back the excitement and economic vibrancy that will make Canadian centres international magnates for residents and visitors once again.

Add your voice in support:

Organizations can send in submissions to the 2021 Pre-Budget Consultations until February 19.

Individuals can complete the Pre-Budget Questionnaire until February 19. The questions do not offer basic income guarantee as an option, but it is possible to select 'other' and write in basic income guarantee yourself.

Helpful links: