Basic income denied in Ontario: Interview with Jessie Golem

Open Democracy

Jessie Golem is a photographer and was, for a short time, a basic income recipient in Ontario. Beyond Trafficking and Slavery caught up with her at the 19th Global Basic Income Congress in Hyderabad, India, to chat about what the programme did for her, and what it meant to have it cut short.

Beyond Trafficking and Slavery: You were, for a short time, a recipient of a basic income in Canada. What was the program you were part of?

Jessie Golem: In 2017, the Ontario provincial government under the Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne introduced a three-year basic income pilot. They chose 4,500 people in four cities in Ontario, all of whom were making under C$30,000 a year, to receive an unconditional guaranteed basic income. The size of the income was put on a sliding scale. You could receive up to C$1,400 a month, but if you were working then it was reduced by 50 cents to the dollar. Because I was working, I received about C$700 a month.

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Where's the talk about a guaranteed livable income?

When Canadians head to the polls on October 21, they should ask themselves how Canada’s political parties will tackle inequality.

Over the past two decades, the richest Canadians have seen their share of income go up and up. The top one per cent absorbed almost a third of all income growth between 1997 and 2007, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Meanwhile, one in seven people in Canada lives in poverty — which hurts everyone, because poverty is expensive. In 2008, for instance, the cost of failing to address poverty in Ontario – including everything from health care and criminal justice system costs to lost tax revenue – was estimated to be 10 to 16 per cent of the province’s budget. That’s around $2,000 to $3,000 per household per year.

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Candidates argue merits of basic-income guarantee

Thunder Bay Newswatch

Thunder Bay-Superior North candidates tackled a number of hot-button issues on Wednesday night as they met the electorate at a debate hosted by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Topics ranged from climate change to homelessness to Indigenous issues in the lone local forum to date to include all six candidates in the race.

The election hopefuls,  Liberal incumbent Patty Hajdu, Conservative Frank Pullia, the NDP’s Anna Betty Achneepineskum, Bruce Hyer of the Green Party, Youssef Khanjari of the People’s Party of Canada and Liberatarian Alex Vodden, didn’t agree on much, but they did all agree that a basic income guarantee of some sort was something to work toward.

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Universal Basic Income Favored in Canada, U.K. but Not in U.S.

Gallup News

A recent survey by Gallup and Northeastern University finds a slight majority of Americans opposed to a universal basic income (UBI) program as a way to support workers displaced by AI adoption. Conversely, about three-fourths of residents in the U.K. and Canada favor the idea.

These findings come from a Gallup/Northeastern survey of over 10,000 adults in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. conducted from April to June 2019. By some estimates, up to 50% of jobs are expected to be automated within the next decade. An OECD study across 21 countries suggests that while only 9% of jobs are currently at high risk of automation, low-skilled workers are most vulnerable to job displacement.

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An open invitation from Hamilton to federal party leaders about basic income

Ontario's former Basic Income pilot participants are eager to share their experiences on the program and discuss why Canada needs a National Basic Income.

The next time they are in Hamilton on a campaign stop, Federal Party Leaders have an open invitation. The Basic Income Canada Network and Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction have invited Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to join Ontario's former Basic Income pilot participants to hear their stories and discuss why Canada needs a National Basic Income.

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Art Eggleton to speak about need for national basic income

The Lindsay Advocate

The Lindsay Advocate will be hosting a free event on Oct. 5 in Lindsay, Ontario, featuring retired Senator Art Eggleton who will speak on why Canada needs a basic income — and how to get there.

There are still 14 free tickets remaining out 110. The event will be held at the Pie Eyed Monk in Lindsay and is accessibility-friendly. To register, go here.

Eggleton has been one of the basic income movement’s greatest Canadian champions. He remains Toronto’s longest serving mayor in history and was well-known for his progressive approach to social issues in the city.

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An outsider’s view of the Basic Income Congress

Basic Income Earth Network

I was privileged to attend the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) 2019 Congress just now where I drew attention to the role of complementary currencies and attempted to dispel any fantasies about the role of blockchain in transferring wealth.

I’ve always supported Basic Income (BI) in principle. It is probably the most direct possible strategy to address the perennial problems of poverty and inequality. It works by giving enough money to live to everyone, effectively putting a floor on poverty, and taking away the fear and want that drives people to underprice their labour. It is unconditionality makes it cheaper to administer than a normal social security system.

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