The guaranteed income on the rails

News 14 March, 2018
  • Photo Simon Clark
    The minister of Employment and social Solidarity, François Blais

    Nicolas Lachance

    Wednesday, march 14, 2018 15:43

    Wednesday, march 14, 2018 15:43

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    The government of Quebec has taken a further step towards the introduction of a minimum income guarantee which aims persons with severe handicaps.

    This bill focuses only on those unable to work who have employment constraints. Ultimately, the program will cost nearly $ 500 million per year to taxpayers.

    “This is a first basic income in Quebec for people who are more severely disabled. These people, who at this moment do not have access to the labour market as easily,” said François Blais, minister of Employment and social Solidarity.

    “We come out squarely for these people-the traditional logic of social assistance”, he explained.

    In total, the government estimated that this measure will assist at least 85 000 people. As well, the minister Blais is convinced to have the support of the opposition and community groups.

    “We have a need for it. I have already discussed with the oppositions, I think that there is an opening large enough to consider it,” said the minister.

    Objective 2023

    The revision of the income will be gradual in order to respect the capacity to pay of Québec. At the present time, the maximum amount offered by the social assistance program is approximately $12,500.

    This is that five years from now, in 2023, that the amount allocated will reach the low-income threshold of the market basket measure (MBM), which is approximately $18,000.

    The program of eligibility will also be less restrictive and more simple approach.

    “People will be able to keep their amounts, even if they go in the household,” said the minister.

    Those who are in accommodation will not be automatically penalized, and, in the same way if they have a working income.

    They will also continue to receive their special benefits as well as assets such as inheritances.


    Although the bill is seen favourably by the majority of community groups, some as a Collective for a Quebec without poverty finds that the proposal of the government has a lot of gaps.

    “Why wait until 2023 for the base income reaches, for eligible persons, the target of the MPC?”, request the body.

    The minister replies that it is the major changes that will not occur overnight.