Canadian Green Leadership: Glen Murray Calls on Federal Government to End Poverty

WINNIPEG – August 19, 2020 – Federal Green Party leadership candidate, Glen Murray, today released End Poverty Now, a fully funded and immediately implementable program to realize the Green Party of Canada’s priority to establish a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI).

This program will pull most Canadians out of poverty now, moving to raise all Canadians above the Low-Income Measure (LIM) within a few years.

Addressing income inequality is not just a moral imperative, it is also critical to creating a greener and more sustainable future. It is not reasonable to ask those with the least resources to make greener choices as consumers without first ensuring they have the financial ability to do so.

“Climate change will continue to create major economic disruption. As our experience with COVID-19 is showing us, our social policies come up short for the challenges of the times we are living in. This program will help make Canadians more resilient to the economic effects of global health and ecological disruptions,” Murray added.

“This is a practical program that the federal government can and must implement today,” said Murray. “It doesn’t touch the current provincial agreements and could be implemented within the authorities of the federal government,”

“This program creates almost $18 billion in additional revenue for provinces and territories, giving them the capacity to further enhance the well-being of Canadians and assist with the cost of the recovery from COVID-19. Implementing this program is critically important to the well-being of millions of Canadians and cannot be held hostage by intergovernmental politics and disagreements,” said Murray.

While discussions with provinces on this program are important, implementing End Poverty Now can be implemented nationally without affecting provincial programs or jurisdiction.

“I was proud to support the Ontario Basic Income Pilot in 2017, which demonstrated the value of adopting a guaranteed livable income in Canada’s largest province, providing a model for this initiative,” he said.

The five benefit streams are more than 93 per cent paid for by changing existing tax provisions. Less than seven per cent comes from new tax revenue, achieved by applying the same rate of federal taxation to banks in Canada as is applied to those in the United States and modest tax increases on incomes over $250,000.

The program does not add to the federal deficit or debt.

“Most Canadians pay more than their fair share of taxes and should not find themselves struggling to make ends meet. End Poverty Now will give more money to low-and-middle-income Canadians, paid for by a smart rethinking of fiscal policy and re-apportioning the tax burden to reduce disparities and unfairness in the current system,” Murray said

When implemented, millions of Canadians, for the first time, will have their incomes raised above the poverty line.  Students, low-income adults, families with children, seniors and those living with disabilities will be eligible for the five benefit streams of this program:

  1. The Canada Essential Workers Benefit provides up to $4,800 per year for low-income workers in healthcare, childcare, food distribution and other critical services.
  2. The Canada Family Benefit for all Canadian families with children provides $500 per month for each child four years of age and under, $250 per month for each child aged five through nine, and $100 per month for each child aged 10 to 12. 
  3. The Canada Learning Benefit increases the maximum amount of federal direct support to low-and-moderate income, full-time post-secondary students to $9,240, and increases support for post-secondary part-time students to a maximum of $6,840. These levels of support cover average tuition and mandatory fees, moving Canada closer to tuition-free post-secondary education.
  4. The Canada Seniors Benefit lifts all seniors eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) out of poverty without requiring them to risk their health, lives or homes because they must work to survive.
  5. The Canada Care Benefit ensures Canadian households receiving average provincial disability social assistance benefits see their income increased by $7,200, which will bring them to at least 90 per cent of the LIM. Canadians who qualify for the Federal Disability Credit will be entitled to a new refundable Care Benefit worth $3,600.

When combined with the new Canada Family Benefit, all families receiving average provincial disability social assistance benefits with children will be raised above the LIM.

The benefit also ensures families caring for children with disabilities, regardless of income, receive the full value of current federal disability benefits by making them fully refundable and extends the age of eligibility from 18 to 25.

End Poverty Now also invites provincial and territorial partners to refocus regular social assistance on skills development and transition to employment with more than $2.2 billion in new federal support to raise those on basic social assistance closer to the LIM and offers a pathway to raise their incomes above the LIM.

For English interviews, please contact:
Donald Benham: 431-338-7360

Click here to view The Glen Murray Program to End Poverty Now

Click here to view the costing backgrounder for The Glen Murray Program to End Poverty Now

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