City of Kawartha Lakes mayor welcomes basic income pilot in Lindsay

Roderick Benns

The mayor of the City of Kawartha Lakes – of which Lindsay is the largest urban centre – is giving kudos to the Province for testing a basic income here.

“I think it’s great,” says Mayor Andy Letham. “This community will certainly benefit.”

Yesterday in Hamilton, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Hamilton/Brantford, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay are the selected communities for the Province’s basic income guarantee project. The three-year study will test how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects for those living on low incomes, while providing greater security for them and their families.

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Hamilton/Brantford, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay to be basic income sites

Roderick Benns

Saying there are “new forces at play” in the economy, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Hamilton/Brantford, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay are the selected communities for the Province’s basic income guarantee project.

Wynne announced details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot today in Hamilton. The three-year study will test how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects for those living on low incomes, while providing greater security for them and their families.

In her lead-up remarks to the announcement, the premier said although Ontario’s economy is showing many signs of improvement, there are also many people in the province who are not feeling that growth in their everyday lives and feel pessimistic about their life direction.

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Conservative MPP says he’s supportive of basic income, but not jacking up minimum wage rates

Roderick Benns

An Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP, Randy Hillier, says he supports basic income policy as a tool to help those in vulnerable circumstances.

The MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, a large rural area in southeastern Ontario, says the social safety net as it exists right now is not up to the job.

“I’m generally supportive of basic income. Our social safety net leaves a lot to be desired. In many cases, with existing programs, there are disincentives for people to improve their lot in life, with claw backs on earnings,” he points out.

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Kingston documentary focuses on BIG local and global movement

by Hollie Pratt-Campbell 

You could say Kingston is something of a leader in Canada when it comes to advocating for a basic income guarantee (BIG).

In December 2015, Kingston City Council became the first municipality in Canada to endorse the idea, and did so unanimously. One of Canada’s foremost advocates for BIG is former senator Hugh Segal, also from Kingston, and the city has an active and influential advocacy group, called Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee (KAG4BIG).

“I think it’s safe to say that our Kingston group is the most active and organized of the local basic income groups in Ontario,” says Jamie Swift, a journalist and member of KAG4BIG.

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Basic income and health

By W.S. Croson and D.J. McCulloch, HealthStats Inc.

Almost 50 years ago, in 1968, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau called on Canadians to help create “A Just Society” where no one “should be entitled to superfluous or luxury goods until the essentials of life are made available to everyone” and that “those regions and groups which have not fully shared in the country’s affluence . . . be given a better opportunity.”

Pragmatically, he also recognized that “most people take it for granted that every Canadian is assured a reasonable standard of living. Unfortunately, that is not the case.” 

Fifty years later the effects of income inequality are still evident. In its 2013 RHA Indicators Atlas, the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) at the University of Manitoba identified that:

“Residents of lower income areas have significantly higher mortality rates and higher prevalence of physical and mental illness. Their results are either not improving over time or are improving at a slower rate than for residents of higher income areas. As a result, the health gap is getting even wider.” Similar findings have been found and documented in jurisdictions across Canada for some time and have been illustrated by measures of disparity applied to health indicators data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

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Ontario embraces no-strings-attached basic income experiment

By 

The Richardson family got a new kitchen table and 12-year-old Eric got his first trip to the dentist.

The Wallaces, who had no running water or indoor plumbing in their farmhouse in the 1970s, were able to buy a nearly-new flatbed truck.

Forty years ago, they were among almost 2,200 Manitoba households that participated in “Mincome,” a three-year federal-provincial experiment that sent unconditional monthly payments to low-income families as a way to combat poverty and streamline social programs.

There was little analysis of the project at the time due to a change in government and political priorities in the late 1970s. But a 2011 study of Mincome turned up some interesting findings about the rural community of Dauphin, Man., where the Richardsons and Wallaces lived and where all low-income households were eligible to participate.

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Citizens for Public Justice releases new “Briefing Note” on Guaranteed Livable Income

Kate McFarland 

Basic Income Earth Network

Canada’s Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to researching and promoting justice in public policy, has published a briefing note on CPJ’s position on guaranteed livable income (GLI) (sometimes also referred to as a ‘guaranteed minimum income’ or ‘guaranteed annual income’). CPJ defines a GLI as an “income security system that would ensure that everyone has access to the basic necessities of life and the means to participate meaningfully in the life of their community” — which encompasses several types of policies, including a negative income tax (NIT), top-up programs, and a universal basic income (here called a ‘demogrant’ as is common in Canadian terminology*).

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