We believe that ending poverty is possible with a system-wide approach. Find our Campaign for a Basic Income Guarantee here.
Interested in contributing to the movement for a Basic Income Guarantee?
The PEI Working Group For a Livable Income believes that all citizens of PEI have the right to an income that allows them to live in good health and with dignity. Our goal is to influence the attitudes and actions of the community, employees, employers, and public policy makers in an effort to make a livable income a reality for all Islanders.
By livable income, we mean an income that reflects the cost of life’s necessities, including
- child and elder care
- health care and supplies
- the capacity to deal with emergencies
Livable income takes into account the conditions of people living in poverty. A livable income affords individuals and families the ability to maintain a standard of living that allows them to
- participate in their community
- access community services
- access continuing education
- communicate with their friends and family
- be environmentally responsible and
- save money in the interest of being financially independent.
Livable income lets us look at all the kinds of income that individuals and families rely upon. For some, wages are the most important source of income. For others, income may come from pensions, child benefits and subsidies, Social Assistance, Employment Insurance or disability/accessibility support programs.
During the Winter and Spring of 2002 to 2003, Cooper Institute (member of WGLI) held two five-week community promoter training programs and assisted in organizing three community workshops on minimum wage and low wages. The objectives were to raise awareness among Island communities about the reality of low-wage workers in PEI and to engage citizens in influencing public policy related to wage levels and working conditions. At the same time, other organizations on PEI, including Women’s Network PEI, Association des femmes acadiennes et francophones de l’Î.-P.-É., and the PEI Federation of Labour were also involved in the issue of low wages. In September 2003, as a result of a decision made during one of the community workshops, Cooper Institute sent an invitation to other organizations to form the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income to keep the issue on the public agenda.
The Working Group has made numerous presentations to Government, including to the Special Committee on Poverty in PEI (2019), to various Ministers of Social Services, and has participated in many public consultations, including the regular review of the Employment Standards Act, a review of the Social Assistance Act (2010), and hearings about a multi-tiered minimum wage.
From its founding in 2003, WGLI has seen the need to address the on-going roots of impoverishment of a large number of people in PEI. This means having a long term goal of establishing a system of guaranteed livable income for all Islanders which means the elimination of poverty, which is referred to as Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). Many of the members have personal experience of being unable to meet their basic human needs. WGLI has put pressure on the community and governments to shore up current income sources and develop policies and programs which include providing: livable wages, a fair EI system, adequate social assistance payments, equitable housing programs, access to affordable pharmaceuticals, and increases in disability pensions and Old Age Security.
The Campaign for a Basic Income Guarantee on PEI (C-BIG PEI), now the Working Group’s central campaign, began in 2013. Since we began working on this, two unanimous motions were passed (December 2016 and July 2019) in the provincial legislature to move forward on Basic Income Guarantee with the federal government.