Federal coffers would have to dole out more than $76 billion a year to provide every low-income household with a guaranteed minimum income if the government ever embarked on such a radical overhaul of the social safety net, Parliament’s budget watchdog said Tuesday.

In a new report, the parliamentary budget officer estimated the federal government would have to find about $43.1 billion to cover the full cost of the program to top up the $32.9 billion Ottawa already spends on support to low-income Canadians.

A guaranteed minimum income often means different things to different people, but at its core it can be described as a no-strings-attached benefit that governments provide to citizens instead of various targeted social benefits. It can be delivered as a universal payment, or as a means-tested benefit that declines in value as incomes rise.