Government-sponsored training and employment programs: Actively serving those near a basic income threshold in British Columbia
Authors: Arthur Sweetman
Current government-sponsored adult employment and training programs for disadvantaged individuals are seen to have positive and economically important rates of return with respect to participant labour market outcomes. A basic income is argued to be a complement, not a substitute, for such programs. This is because most basic income programs are designed to be fundamentally passive, but the argument made here is that high-quality active labour market program (ALMP) management is fundamentally active. Canada has a long tradition of tied benefits associated with learning (e.g., aside from well-established student loans and grants programs, free child care during language training and funds for transportation costs to attend training provided for new government-assisted refugees during language training in addition to the government providing a basic income to such individuals immediately after arrival), and there appears to be good reason for these directed expenditures. Indeed, the federal government is increasing its activity in this area for adult learners with new programs such as Skills Boost. The design of a basic income program should complement such targeted learning initiatives. Delivering programs that foster human capital development will hopefully increase participant productivity so that they earn more than a “basic” income.
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