Sheila Regehr to tackle labour, work incentive questions at Guelph basic income event

By Roderick Benns

Basic Income Canada Network Chair Sheila Regehr will tackle some of the common challenges she hears about basic income policy at an event in Guelph this Wednesday, Sept. 28th.

Regehr is the keynote speaker for an evening hosted by the Guelph Community Health Centre, the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, and CFUW Guelph.

The key theme of the evening is ‘Can a Basic Income Guarantee Eliminate Poverty?’ After Regehr speaks, she will then be in conversation with Peter Clutterbuck, from the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Noah Zon, Director of Policy and Research, Maytree, and Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. 

In an interview with Regehr, she says she wants to confront the question she hears most often about a basic income guarantee – such as whether or not such a policy would deter people from working.

“Work is not just wage labour,” she says.

“The labour force has changed so dramatically that it’s increasingly failing to ensure good income distribution in society,” she notes.

Regehr says in today’s society most of us are raising families, doing caregiving of some kind, or doing volunteer work in communities.

“Most of us are working in various ways so we need to separate the idea of work only being about wage labour,” she says.

She points out that a person living in poverty often has to walk everywhere, especially if they’re poor enough that they can’t even afford a transit pass.

“If you have to walk everywhere to get what you need, that’s certainly a lot of work, too.”

For Regehr, she would like to see a good basic income guarantee in tandem with good services, such as national child care and Pharmacare plans.

For more information about the evening, visit the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination website. The evening is free to attend and is being held at the Evergreen Seniors Centre in Guelph.