It sounds great on the surface. Three beautiful and important words. Universal. Basic. Income. Taken together, they sound even better. So what’s not to like about it?
In 2017, the proposed Ontario Basic Income Pilot ("OBIP") gave hope to communities that have struggled with rising unemployment rates, housing instability, and poverty.
The program provided 4,000 individuals from cities including Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay with a minimum monthly income to pursue continued education, pay for stable housing, support their families, and improve their overall quality of life.
The goal of the pilot was to offer a sustainable solution for poverty reduction and positively contribute to the health and well-being of Ontarians.Read more
For about 15 years, Germany offered a social assistance benefit that was widely considered the opposite of basic income.
Any single, adult German resident who could not make ends meet based on their income and personal assets (or with assistance from relatives) was eligible to receive around 424 euros ($470) per month to cover food and basic necessities.Read more
The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was a program initiated by the Wynne Liberals and designed by former Conservative senator Hugh Segal. Each month, the government would give low-income residents a sum of money with no strings attached, then track how they fared.
For Tracey Mechefske (far left), Basic Income was a lifeline. She started a business, improved her diet and enrolled at a local gym. Then, without warning, Ford cancelled the entire program.Read more
New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon would like to see a basic income guarantee replace the province's social assistance program which has led to "government enforced poverty."
"It's a different kind of social assistance system, that's for sure. It's simpler," Coon said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton.
"It doesn't have the clawbacks. It doesn't have these awful rules that really bind people in poverty and prevent them from getting ahead in any way."Read more
Some 503 years ago, the English humanist and lawyer Sir Thomas More wrote Utopia, describing an ideal society that contrasted with the highly unequal social conditions that prevailed in his time. Referring to the routine hanging of petty larcenists, his protagonist remarks: “Instead of inflicting these horrible punishments, it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse.”Read more
Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California, was just 28 years old when he launched a pilot program that gives free money to his city's residents.
In February, the city began distributing $500 monthly stipends to 125 residents who live at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually). The stipends are a test of basic income, a policy approach that would essentially pay people simply for being alive.Read more