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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Federal MP believes basic income would lead to improved health

Roderick Benns

A federal MP from Prince Edward Island, Wayne Easter, believes that a basic income guarantee could improve Canadians’ health, reduce crime, and make a significant dent in poverty levels.

Easter says he is pleased that Ontario is tackling a pilot project on basic income, and that his own province, Prince Edward Island, is looking to do the same with the help of the federal government.

“I think it would reduce poverty for sure and it might even reduce crime,” Easter tell the Precarious Work Chronicle.

“I think it would mean better learning by students because research shows that when young people are fed properly their ability to learn increases,” he adds.

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John Howard Society in Lindsay expects pilot to be boon for community

Roderick Benns

The executive director of Lindsay’s John Howard Society, Laura Maw, says she expects the basic income pilot project “will have a positive effect on the community.”

Lindsay is one of three centres in Ontario that will test the Province’s new basic income guarantee pilot this year. A basic income ensures everyone an income sufficient to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status.

The John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton, based in Lindsay, offers programs that aim to “prevent repeat offences among individuals who have been in conflict with the law, and prevent delinquent behavior among youth who may be at risk of offending,” according to their website. Maw emphasizes the Society also has many programs that are not “justice-based” at all, such as transitional housing, literacy and basic skills, and various youth programs.

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