Cancelling the long-awaited Basic Income Pilot would be “a cruel, misguided breach of trust” says Basic Income Canada Network’s Sheila Regehr. The statement comes in response to recent comments from Ontario Premier Doug Ford casting doubt on the completion of the pilot. All parties in the last Ontario election agreed that the pilot would run to completion, and Basic Income as an approach to economic security has support across the political spectrum.
“We are heartbroken at the thought that women, men and children have started to regain hope and rebuild their lives around a government promise that is being dishonoured so abruptly. It is devastating,” stated Regehr and Joe Foster of Ontario Basic Income Network. “Out of human dignity and decency, we sincerely hope the Ontario government will reconsider its path and avoid perpetrating a cruel, misguided breach of trust.”
“The Ontario government may well determine that this program requires federal cost-sharing, but that is a matter for public discussion and should be based on the evidence and experience derived from the pilot project,” they added. “Better yet, the government could lead by beginning conversations now about how a national program, like the ones for seniors and children, is a feasible path that warrants exploration.”
“The Ontario pilot has attracted world-wide attention from researchers, policy makers and advocates, and our province can provide valuable leadership for better models of economic security for all,” notes Foster. “For BICN and OBIN, our work continues as the need for a basic income in a precarious world grows. We all need a modicum of security and stability in our lives, including the ability to trust our governments.”
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The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) and the Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) are non-partisan, non-profit organizations. BICN’s website at http://www.basicincomecanada.org provides many resources, including the Basic Income primer series.
Basic income is an approach to economic security that is supported across the political spectrum by people from all walks of life, from public health authorities to business owners, farmers and faith groups, people struggling to make ends meet and those who are very well-off. It is a proven approach that we have used successfully in Canada for decades to support seniors and families with children, to the benefit of our society and economy. There is every reason to expect it can work well for other Canadians as well, far better than demeaning and stingy social assistance programs, or forcing those precariously employed to bear all the risk of life’s ups and downs on their own.