City of Welland joins movement for basic income

By Roderick Benns 

Publisher of Leaders and Legacies, a social purpose news site

Ontario’s City of Welland, about a half hour away from Niagara Falls, is backing Kingston’s basic income guarantee motion.

Led by Councillor Bonnie Fokkens, Council unanimously supported the motion calling for a national discussion on the issue, urging the provinces and federal government to work together to “consider, investigate, and develop a Basic Income Guarantee for all Canadians.”

Momentum continues to build for this new shift in social policy, which would ultimately usher in the end of the welfare system and the beginning of a guaranteed income from the government that would keep people above the poverty line.

The policy would ensure everyone an income that is sufficient to meet their basic needs, regardless of work status through direct cash transfers using the income tax system. Essentially, a basic income would ensure that no Canadian would ever drop below the poverty line.

Welland, a city of 51,000, is one of many municipalities speaking out in favour of the need for this social policy shift. The Kingston resolution was forwarded to all municipalities in Ontario with the request that they consider indicating their own support for the initiative. It was also forwarded to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Other indicators of a building interest in a basic income guarantee include:

  • The election of an NDP government in Alberta, which was once a Conservative bastion
  • Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, an economist by training, signalled strong support for a basic income guarantee in a 2008 Institute for Research on Public Policy brief, as first published in the Post.
  • The election of an Ontario Liberal government that is keen on bold poverty reduction measures
  • The support of an increasing number of health-related organizations, such as the Ontario Public Health Association and the Canadian Medical Association.
  • The poverty reduction report solicited by the Saskatchewan government and its recommendation to support a basic income policy
  • The election of a Liberal government in Prince Edward Island earlier this year that indicated its support for basic income during the campaign