Editorial: Basic income

The St. John's Telegram

In the Hamilton and Thunder Bay areas of Ontario, 400 people have been signed up so far for a pilot project that provides a basic income.

It’s a three-year experiment that will be independently monitored by researchers and followed with keen interest by provincial governments and anti-poverty advocates across the country.

The idea behind a basic income is that stable, livable funding makes it easier for people to escape poverty, find safe housing and employment or employment training, and maintain a balanced diet and good health, thus costing the social safety net less in the long run.

It’s not a new idea. The World Economic Forum reports that the concept of a universal basic income (UBI) has been turned into at least a temporary reality in several parts of the world, including Alaska, Namibia, Scotland, India and Brazil.

Currently, Finland, the Netherlands and parts of Ontario are testing the waters, while British Columbia — which has the highest poverty rate in Canada — plans to follow suit.

A 53-year-old man who lost his job because of health issues told the Toronto Star last month that a basic income could have prevented him from joining the ranks of the homeless.

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