A “Basic Income Now Rally” is set for noon Wednesday at the Healing Totem, on Front Street at the corner of Main Street, in downtown Whitehorse.
The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC) will host the event to raise awareness of Basic Annual Income, a key issue in the current federal election campaign.
A Basic Income (BI), sometimes known as the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI), is defined as: “a regular, reliable distribution of money from government to people, to help ensure total income sufficient to meet common, basic needs.
“The distribution is made without regard for whether recipients have paid labour or not, though total income can be factored as to whether a person receives Basic Income.”
In the Yukon, a BI program would need to be built in collaboration with the community and amongst all four levels of government.
“Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, there is so much need in Canada, in many ways,” coalition co-chair Helen Slama said Monday.
“My lived experience includes a couple times when the cold breath of significant financial uncertainty blew on the back of my neck. I was lucky, while so many others have not been.”
Wednesday’s lunch-time rally will include several speakers, including Yukon Senator Pat Duncan, who has supported the BAI along with 50 of her Senate colleagues.
Several people will be sharing their stories of what BAI could mean to them when it’s implemented.
The Yukon’s federal candidates have been invited to come and listen to the speakers.
The coalition hopes this rally will start the public conversation about Basic Annual Income in the Yukon and inform the implementation of Recommendation 5.7 from the Putting People First final report.
That is, design and implement a guaranteed annual income pilot, in collaboration with the coalition and potential funding partners such as the federal government, health and social research programs and others.
The coalition is encouraging people to walk to the Healing Totem from all directions with their placards and signs; a visual and active convergence of community members who believe it is time for a Basic Income.