Written by: Cee Strauss

This report examines whether a basic income program should be included in a feminist advocacy strategy for change in the care economy.

It is a companion report to Basic Income, Gender & Disability, and is designed to contribute to the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund’s larger Basic Income Project.

In this report, we conclude that a basic income program should be included in a feminist advocacy strategy for change in the care economy. As an income transfer sufficient to meet people’s basic needs, a livable basic income is one of the ways in which Canada can respect its international human rights obligation to provide a social protection floor. This benefit should not come at the expense of other necessary components of a strong welfare state, including accessible, quality public services and programs for all.

The report concludes that a basic income program must be accompanied by three other components of care economy infrastructure:

  1. High-quality, affordable, accessible public care services;
  2. Valuing paid caregiving work and other gendered occupations; and
  3. A shift in workplace norms to allow for flexibility and part-time work arrangements without significant financial penalty.

Without these elements in place, LEAF does not support implementation of a basic income, as it would risk entrenching gendered economic and social inequality. Flowing from these requirements, we make a number of further recommendations, discussed throughout the report and listed in full at its end.

Finally, this report explores the question of whether a basic income might provide a means to prevent gender-based violence or to assist those exiting abusive environments. The research on the former question is mixed. As for assisting those exiting abusive environments, we conclude that a basic income could assist survivors of gender-based violence by providing them with a steady stream of income.

Download the Executive Summary and Recommendations, and Full Report below. The Executive Summary and Recommendations are also available in French.