Iceland: Pirate Party invited to form government, supports investigation of BI

By Kate McFarland

Basic Income Earth Network

The Icelandic Pirate Party — which has proposed to launch an investigation into ways to implement an unconditional basic income in Iceland — has been granted the authority to form the country’s next government.

Iceland’s Pirate Party (Píratar) gained seven seats in Iceland’s parliament (Alþingi) in the October 2016 general election (which was held a year early, after the Prime Minister resigned in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks). This put the party in third place in parliamentary representation, behind the center-right Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement. 

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Let's talk about Canadian values (values like a universal basic income)

By Madeline Ashby

OPINION -- Ottawa Citizen

Ontario is now poised to pilot a universal basic income project, putting it at the forefront of social innovation in the Western world. Canada is the first government in North America to try out the universal basic income idea. Switzerland resoundingly rejected a proposal to bring it onboard during a vote this summer.

What is universal basic income? It’s exactly what it sounds like: It’s granting people a minimum baseline of money on top of whatever they are able to earn. In Ontario’s case, this would amount to about $22,000 a year, which would put individuals making no other income at just above the poverty line. The poverty line for individual persons is at $18,421 a year. In 2009, half of Canadians were living on less than $25,400.

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The simple way to lift Canadians out of poverty

By Brynna Leslie

Ottawa Community News

The City of Ottawa has tabled a number of measures in its budget to assist low-income residents. Among them, a half-price monthly transit pass is set to take effect in April 2017. The city has also committed to funds for organizations that offer social assistance.

But what if lifting Canadians out of poverty is more simple than the patchwork solutions frequently offered by municipal and provincial governments?

For nearly 40 years, a small, but politically and intellectually diverse group have been arguing for the implementation of a guaranteed annual income (GAI) to replace existing welfare and other assistance programs. Studies on GAI have proven to have positive financial impacts on health care, education and overall well being.

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Followed by poverty, Peterborough man finds hopeful cause in basic income

By Roderick Benns

When he was a young man, just leaving high school, Jason Hartwick always pictured himself in front of a classroom. He saw himself as a high school teacher, helping to inspire young people and to guide them along their lives’ paths.

The thing is, Hartwick didn’t have anyone to guide him.

He grew up in poverty, bounced around from town to town across a wide swath of southern Ontario, dependent on where his single mom could find work and affordable housing.

From Bowmanville, where they lived on Mother's allowance payments, to Grasshill, Pefferlaw, Sutton, Sundridge, Burk's Falls, South River, Beaverton, Peterborough and Argyle, Hartwick figured out they had moved 32 times before he turned 21.

Now 38 and living in Peterborough, he says he knows that “poverty was definitely a barrier” when he was growing up with his six siblings. When he thinks about his early dream of being a high school teacher, Hartwick remembers how he felt as reality set in. 

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Ontario Minister hopeful for Basic Income pilot

By Roderick Benns

Chris Ballard, the Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario, says he is hopeful the province’s Basic Income pilot will “put to rest” any doubts people have about how positive a minimum income strategy could be.

Ballard, who is overseeing the Basic Income pilot project initiated by Canada’s largest province, says some of the key things they want to look at from studying the pilot will be Basic Income’s impact on community health, individuals’ health, education, general quality of life, and how the policy might stimulate “attachment to the labour force.”

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Poverty statistics point to economic system failure, says Sen. Art Eggleton

By Michael Swan

The Catholic Register

If the economy leaves 1.3 million Canadian children living in poverty, is the economy really working?

The answer is pretty clear for Senator and former Toronto mayor Art Eggleton.

“The system has failed,” he told religious leaders gathered at Queen’s Park Nov. 24.

“The band-aid approach, the incremental approaches that have been tried over the years – as good as the intentions have been – still haven’t been enough to really move the (poverty) numbers in a big way.”

Little tweaks here and there to welfare systems aren’t going to change the outlook for a million Canadian households who can’t pay the rent and put food on the table, Eggleton told members of the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARAC). Too many Canadians have been left behind by a rapidly transforming and globalizing economy, he said.

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'A rare opportunity' for basic income pilot project on P.E.I.

The time is ripe to start moving away from current welfare models and towards a basic income for Canadians, says former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal. 

Former P.E.I. premier Robert Ghiz said in 2014 he supported trying a basic income on P.E.I., and the current government has told CBC News it still supports the idea.

Segal has written a plan for a basic income pilot project for Ontario, which he expects will go ahead next year. The plan proposes that those aged 18 to 65, who are living under the low-income poverty line in Ontario, earn a basic income of at least $1,320 a month. People with disabilities would receive $500 more.

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