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Is Quebec’s Action Plan a step toward a guaranteed minimum income?
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July 2, 2018
Inroads Journal

In December 2017, the Quebec government released the Government Action Plan to Foster Economic Inclusion and Social Participation,1 its third action plan as provided for by the 2002 Act to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion. This plan was presented as a first step toward a guaranteed minimum income as promised by the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, François Blais.2 It represents the first significant investment in welfare benefits and the fight against poverty since the adoption of the 2002 law, except for the improvement in child benefits adopted in 2004.

As I write, Bill 173, which would implement the part of the Plan that increases benefits for people with severe employment constraints, is being debated in the National Assembly. Under Bill 173, there will be a “guaranteed minimum income” of $18,029 (2017 dollars) by 2023 for a single person who has a severely limited capacity for employment and has received social solidarity benefits for five and a half of the last six years. According to the government, this corresponds to the market basket measure (MBM) of low income established by Statistics Canada.3 The guaranteed minimum income is expected to reach 84,000 individuals by 2023, of whom 93.2 per cent are single and most of the rest belong to couples without children. Disposable income for a couple where both members have limited capacity will increase from $18,912 to $26,400. Women represent 46.2 per cent of potential beneficiaries and men 53.8 per cent.


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