Basic income, migrant workers, temporary status, access to welfare, structural discrimination
Undeniably, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to economic hardships for Canadians and has highlighted the loopholes in existing welfare programs. As a result, there have been calls for implementing a universal basic income policy that is anticipated to better lift Canadians out of poverty. Amid the arguments for a basic income, it is essential to point out that the labour force does not only consist of Canadian citizens. Available research has been silent on how a basic income policy would involve migrant workers in Canada and rely on the definition that basic income will be for ‘all persons’ in Canada. This reasoning is too simplistic because this research finds that Canadian immigration policies segregate migrant workers from Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The temporary status of migrant workers stressed by clauses in federal immigration or provincial laws has usually served as justification for their denial of welfare programs although they contribute to these programs. Statistical evidence shows migrant workers are increasingly becoming a permanent part of the Canadian society. Hence, to formulate a basic income policy that would not just wield the universal brand but be genuinely inclusive, the research recommends that policymakers acknowledge and tackle the prevailing challenges that have prevented migrant workers from enjoying welfare programs in Canada.
Dr. Rebecca Major
Dr. John Sutcliffe
Master of Arts