Canada’s food system You suffer from constant stress supply chain disruptions, price inflation, and extreme weather events. Canadians are feeling the effects of these pressures: in 2021, nearly 16% of provincial households They experienced a certain degree of food insecurity.
federal programs such as Canada Emergency Response feature And talk Grocery store discount Indicates the impact that direct government income interventions can have on ensuring equity in times of emergency, including access to food.
Some have discussed the new grocery store rebate, which will be delivered through the GST/HST tax credit scheme, because it aligns closely with the Basic Income Guarantee proposals. But a basic income guarantee may include regular payments, not just a one-time deduction.
Basic income security can play a major role in Reducing individual and household food insecurity Among the most vulnerable groups in society and ensuring that everyone can meet their basic needs with dignity.
What does the research say
There is general support among basic income advocates in Canada for implementation Basic income subject to the income testwhich may involve offering cash transfers to individuals whose incomes are below a certain threshold.
As experts in sustainable food systems, we suggest that ensuring a basic income can not only be an important tool for addressing economic access to food, but also in supporting sustainability across the food system.
We rely on our research with Canada Alliance, a network of basic income advocacy groups. Our research has brought multidisciplinary teams of scientists and practitioners together Develop a series of case studies Examining basic income from the perspective of different sectors. These sectors include the arts, finance, health, municipalities and the criminal justice system.
Focus our work on agriculture And Fisheries Members from the National Farmers’ Union, Union Paysanne, Ecotrust Canada, and Native Fishing Alliance participated in it.
Overall, our research indicates that a basic income guarantee can have a significant impact on Economic uncertainty faced by farmers and fishing communities in Canada. It can also contribute to a more just and sustainable transition in the food system.
Reducing economic uncertainty
One possible effect of a basic income guarantee is to reduce economic uncertainty for the most vulnerable agricultural and fisheries workers.
Persons employed in food and fish processing and as agricultural laborers are particularly vulnerable to seasonal unemployment, low wages, unequal employee benefits, and unsafe working conditions, including High rates of injury and occupational diseases.
A basic income guarantee can provide individuals with greater financial security and control over their career choices, thus addressing race, class, and gender. Notable differences in the functioning of food systems.
Support for new fishermen and farmers
A second possible impact of basic income guarantee could be to support new entrants in agriculture and fisheries. across canada, commercial fishing And agricultural labor force aging.
Supporting new farmers and fishers, especially those who use more socially and environmentally sustainable practices, is an essential part of building a more resilient food system.
Newcomers face significant hurdles They relate to high entry costs, such as access to land and equipment or the purchase of a boat and fishing licence, along with uncertain and volatile prices for their goods.
While a basic income guarantee alone cannot address these challenges, it can provide greater savings Economic stability of new farmers and fishermen when they invest in infrastructure and training.
Prepare for future stress
A basic income guarantee can also be a step towards building resilience against ongoing stressors, such as the climate crisis and extreme weather events, along with preparing for future emergencies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that those with more stable income and flexible work arrangements as well More adaptable to unexpected shocks. For example, during a pandemic, boat-to-fork seafood companies have weathered seafood chain disruptions better due to adaptable supply chain configurations and proximity to consumers.
Nowadays, small farmers and fishermen tend to receive the least subsidies, as most of them Subsidies go to the largest industrial enterprises. However, these small producers play a critical role in providing food to regional and local markets, which can serve as important buffers during times of crisis and reduce stress on long-distance supply chains.
Establishing a basic income guarantee would be a proactive step in Supporting just livelihoods For small farmers and fishermen.
Next steps for the diet
Although BIS has the potential to produce many positive effects, it should not be a substitute for existing government-funded agricultural and fisheries programs such as grants, public research, training and skills development programmes.
A basic income guarantee should not replace contribution programs, such as Benefits of employment insurance hunting. A basic income guarantee would support fishermen whose earnings are too low to qualify for employment insurance, or who cannot get out on the water.
Additional research and policy efforts will be necessary to gain a fuller understanding of how BIS intersects with other forms of financial support such as insurance, loans and climate finance.
Additional research will also be necessary to understand how a basic income guarantee can support the migrant workers brought through Temporary Foreign Employment Program. Migrant workers are an essential part of processing fisheries, meat production, and horticulture.
There is also a need to think systematically and comprehensively about the role of basic income across the food system. The only way to achieve this is with more inputs from farming, fishing and indigenous communities in collaboration with anti-poverty, food sovereignty and food justice organizations.
We believe that ensuring a basic income is a promising tool to contribute to sustainability and equity across the agriculture and fisheries sectors, while encouraging the development of cross-sectoral networks, research and policy agendas.
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