Canadian basic income experiment life-changing for those unemployed during pandemic

The World

Beverly Harlow is clearly in her element as she wanders among the poultry taking over her backyard near Lindsay, Ontario, northeast of Toronto.

A flock of ducklings and 16 chickens peck at her feet. She expects that all these birds will produce a rainbow assortment of eggs — enough to feed the family and send the surplus to a local food bank.

“They’ll be blue, green; I have one breed that does pink, brown and olive color eggs as well,” she said. “So, I’m really excited about that.”

Harlow and her family have lived on this half-acre of land for four years. But she says that until this spring, they could never afford to raise chickens. Between combined salaries of Harlow and her husband, they barely covered the bills. They themselves relied on the food bank.

But Harlow lost her job as a telemarketer and sales representative after the novel coronavirus hit. That qualified her for a $2,000 a month emergency jobless benefit from the Canadian government. Now, Harlow says the family is doing well. They’ve planted a vegetable garden, painted the kitchen and even made room for a homeless teenager.

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