"For many of us, we think the goal is no one should be living in poverty. That's essentially what we're striving to achieve," said Rob Ranier of the Basic Income Earth Network's Canadian affiliate.
The group suggested a $20,000 threshold ($18,700 U.S.) as a minimum annual salary, regardless of employment status, noting that although Canada's middle class has surpassed that of the United States in affluence, nearly 900,000 Canadians -- of a population of 34 million -- use food banks.
Canada has a higher percentage of children in poverty than other developed countries.
The plan's advocates contend a guaranteed minimum wage would offset welfare and other costs. It also noted a pilot project in the 1970s in which the government provided minimum annual incomes to residents of Dauphine, Manitoba, and discovered overall health improved and hospitalizations declined, suggesting lower public health costs.