Let’s get the basic income pilots right

By Laura Anderson and Danielle Martin

The so-called basic income guarantee is having a moment.

Hot on the heels of Quebec’s plan to explore the policy, it was announced that Ontario’s provincial budget included funds for a basic income pilot project. And on that very day, Senator Art Eggleton tabled a motion calling on the Senate of Canada to encourage the federal government to do the same.

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Elections and New Opportunities at BICN

Dear basic income supporters,

The basic income movement is building, even snowballing, faster than many imagined and BICN is building too. Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is going to be held in May again this year....but with some big differences that could involve you!

First, there are five existing Director positions open for election AND we are expanding the total number of Directors from 10 to 13, to allow for more voices and greater representation from across the country. This means up to eight people can be elected or re-elected to the Board of Directors this year for a two-year term. The deadline for nominations is April 20.

Second, we are seeking applications for Membership on a new and important BICN Advisory Council! We are starting with 30 members this year and are aiming for a good balance among people with diverse backgrounds, skills, experience and areas of expertise. We particularly want to encourage members who can represent local and regional groups to reflect the importance of their activism to the basic income movement. 

The deadline for applications is April 8.  Members will be accepted in time for them to vote in the election of Directors.

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Ottawa facing mounting pressure to consider basic income after Ontario budget

By Bill Curry

Ottawa is facing new pressure to act on a basic-income guarantee after the Ontario government announced it will test the idea.

Thursday’s Ontario budget said the province will conduct a basic-income pilot to study whether providing people with a guaranteed minimum amount of income would be a more efficient and effective way to deliver social support. The project will test claims by those who say it would help the working poor and lead to savings in health care and administration.

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Ontario to try basic income pilot

By Roderick Benns

After a groundswell of support from mayors across the province, including pressure from health units and organizations of all social policy stripes, Ontario will proceed with a basic income guarantee pilot project.

The location of the pilot has not yet been announced but the recent provincial budget document makes clear that the government pledges to “work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.”

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Basic income and healthy minimum wage go together: retired professor

Roderick Benns recently interviewed Toni Pickard about basic income policy. Pickard was a law professor at Queen’s University before she retired and is now the co-founder of the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee. 

Benns: We hear often that basic income could replace the need for higher minimum wages. Many point out that with the scarcity of jobs, a better minimum wage will only reach a minority of people anyway. What do you believe?

Pickard: For me, minimum wages and basic income go together like bread and butter. Together they are wonderful. Each alone serves a purpose, but only one leaves a lot to be desired. Some recent media discussion seems premised on the view that the two are an either-or proposition. I don’t see why. They have different conceptual bases, different beneficiaries and different payers. There’s no need to choose between them.

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Basic Income will bring stability, work incentive: Debra McAuslan

Roderick Benns recently interviewed Debra McAuslan, who advocates for basic income through her affiliation with the Kingston Basic Income group.

Benns: How did you come to be involved with the fight for a Basic Income

McAuslan: I had heard about basic income almost 30 years ago, but did not understand poverty. I grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario. I have never personally known poverty. Naively, as a young adult, I believed everyone must have had the same experience I had. In nursing school during my psychiatry rotation I was totally overwhelmed by the prevalence of sexual abuse in the patient histories. During my nursing career, I have met people living in poverty, but seeing those living in poverty (when I had the privilege of visiting people’s homes during my years as a VON nurse) helped me to see the impact of poverty on health and the challenges of rural poverty.

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Tough times lay the groundwork for citizen support of basic income

By Victor Lau

Saskatchewan is a province in transition. Traditionally alternating between two major political parties; the Sask NDP and a ‘conservative’ type party currently incarnated as the SaskParty.

Today, the Saskatchewan Green Party is challenging that status quo in the upcoming April 4, 2016 provincial election. A key policy in the Green Party ‘Real Change’ platform is the implementation of a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI).

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