Basic income hailed as way to give people chance to chase their dreams

Toronto Star

For many years, Regent Park resident Sam Haque thought the Disney adage: “If you can dream it, you can do it” was advice only for people of privilege.

“I thought it was only something rich parents tell their children,” he says. “But I’m proof that everyone can do it. And that’s the message I’m trying to get out there.”

Haque, 35, who came to Toronto with his mother from Bangladesh when he was 15, turned his back on an opportunity to go to law school about eight years ago to follow his passion for doodling and design, and created Wise Media.

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'Norman Rockwell' town of Lindsay will be under scrutiny with basic income pilot

Roderick Benns 

Near Lock 33 in Lindsay, there is a constant buzz of activity in the summer.

This town of 20,000 is part of the 386-km long Trent Severn Waterway, a system of 44 locks and 39 swing bridges.

Children fish from the banks of the Scugog River as it snakes its way through town. Visitors stroll along the wooden boardwalk, snapping up pictures of the town’s old mill.

The locks, old mill, and river parks are the natural heart of Lindsay, all just mere steps away from its healthy downtown core. Here, one of the widest main streets in Ontario bustles with people and patios. It’s a downtown where people still actually shop, free from the retail clout of Wal-Mart, though developers continue to try and change that.

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An overview of basic income experiments from around the world

Kate McFarland

Basic Income Earth Network

BIEN cofounder Guy Standing, a basic income pilot veteran and now frequent consultant, dubbed 2016 “the year of the pilot“ in response to the burgeoning interest in experimentation with basic income in various countries throughout the world. In 2017, some of these pilot studies were launched, some have been delayed, and other plans have remained dormant. Some have turned out to resemble a full-fledged basic income to a lesser degree than first anticipated.

This page summarizes the current state of this year’s current, planned, and previously announced basic income pilot experiments.

It will be updated on an ongoing basis.

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More than half of Canadians approve of Ontario’s basic income pilot

Jack Hauen

National Post

More than half of Canadians approve of Ontario’s basic income pilot project, but a sizeable chunk of those supporters don’t think it goes far enough.

The project will see as many as 4,000 people with low incomes in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay receive up to $16,989 per year from the province, or $24,027 for a couple, with no strings attached, to see whether an increase in financial security bolsters job prospects and quality of life.

The poll, conducted by Campaign Research, surveyed 1,969 people and found that 53 per cent of respondents across the country supported the plan. Approval was highest among millennials aged 18 to 24 (59 per cent), Atlantic Canadians (63 per cent), and supporters of the federal NDP (63 per cent) and Liberals (62 per cent).

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Anti-poverty activists urge Ontario to focus on poverty reduction, not just basic income

Meagan Gillmore


Anti-poverty activists in Ontario are calling the provincial government's announcement of a basic income pilot project for low-income adults a positive first step, but say more must be done to help people living in poverty.

"It's great that we've got a trial happening, but we can't let the government use this as a ploy to just sit on their tushes and wait for three years. There's desperate need for immediate action on welfare rates," said John Mills, a community activist with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.

The roundtable has no official position on basic income, but will be watching the project closely. The pilot is scheduled to begin in Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County, as well as Thunder Bay, later this spring. It will launch in Lindsay in the fall.

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Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin supports basic income

Roderick Benns

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin has spoken out in favour of a basic income guarantee, saying there is “merit” in this policy tool to help lower income Canadians.

Martin is the first former prime minister to speak out about this policy, currently being studied in Ontario through a new pilot project set up in three centres across the province.

“I think there is merit in it,” he tells the Precarious Work Chronicle.

“Studies have shown it could work well for some families who need this money to bring them up to a certain level,” Martin says.

A basic income, also known as a guaranteed annual income, is a payment to eligible individuals that ensures a minimum level of income to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status.

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Conference at Ryerson University on new economy and basic income this month

Roderick Benns 

An upcoming conference hosted by Ryerson University in Toronto will bring together over 250 people from academia, community, government, industry, law, unions and the workforce to examine the potential of basic income. 

Dubbed ‘The New Economy and a Basic Income Guarantee’ the gathering will aim to “identify changes to the nature of employment, labour and work” that are pushing workers into more precarious employment arrangements.

A basic income guarantee could provide every Canadian with an income sufficient to meet their minimal needs and live with dignity. 

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