Very interesting article. It probably could be broken up into bite-sized pieces — at least for this Medium reader.
I like your UBI formula. It deserves more study.
I noticed on your list that Fort Nelson is regarded as a low rent city. It is basically a resource town: lumber and petroleum. Rents can go up and down depending on the economic climate. Be rest assured that if rents are high, there’s some high-priced workers coming into town that can afford to pay those rents. If rents are low, there probably aren’t many jobs to be had.
I believe that UBI should start small, then build up. Sorry, somehow immediately dropping $1200 a month to low-wage workers means many of them will quit working. And important work for the economy gets left undone. Start at about $200 a month, watch for freeloader effects, than raise it a little more. Remember, we are also changing a collective psychology — and that takes time. And businesses will need time to adjust on how to attract and retain workers.
As for the rent differential between Canadian cities, I think this can be solved by the three levels of government having their own UBI, each taking about 1/3 of the total UBI payment. If Toronto wants to increase its UBI payment, it need not go the federal or provincial government, it does it on its own. Likewise, if Toronto decides to decrease its UBI, that might encourage some citizens to leave. And if Quebec and its municipalities wants to do its own social engineering, well it can — even though it is still getting a 1/3 UBI from the Feds.
I do concur that a UBI will help the labor force move around a little more efficiently.
Had Canada had a working UBI in place, many of the economic dislocations of Covid-19 would have been temporarily resolved without the need to create new social programs in a week’s time.