Pressure mounts on Ottawa to fund basic-income pilot in P.E.I.


Support for a basic income may be shifting from one end of the country to the other.

Four senators are the latest leaders to say they’re in favour of a guaranteed, livable basic income on Prince Edward Island, with Ottawa’s help.

A special all-party committee of the P.E.I. legislature urged the provincial government late last year to begin negotiating with Ottawa for money to test-drive a guaranteed basic income.

Three senators from P.E.I. — Sens. Diane Griffin, Brian Francis, and Mike Duffy, as well as Ontario Sen. Kim Pate — sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and P.E.I. Premier Dennis King last week calling not just for a pilot program, but a nationwide guaranteed basic income, starting on the island.

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Lakehead study examines the impact of cancelling Ontario's Basic Income Pilot

Thunder Bay Newswatch

It will likely come as no surprise to recipients of the now-cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) program that a study has found the program was significantly helpful.

Its benefits, however, were reversed when the project was axed by a new government.

A Lakehead University social work professor led a research team that investigated the impacts, and is now making its findings public.

The planned three-year pilot was announced by the provincial government in 2017 and was subsequently rolled out in several communities including the Thunder Bay area.

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Pandemic Hurdles for Basic Income

On January 18, I participated in a webinar organized by the office of Senator Kim Pate, for politicians and stakeholders interested in a Basic Income for Canadians. Several well-known and highly-respected speakers took part, including former senators Hugh Segal and Art Eggleton, Murray Sinclair,  Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Graham Fox, CEO of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Professor Evelyn Forget, and the Chair of Basic Income Canada Network, Sheila Regehr.

Everyone endorsed the concept and discussed how it could be implemented, pointing out that it would help to “build back better” after the pandemic. 

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BICN Chair says suggested reforms in B.C. fall short of what's needed

Sheila Regehr

On January 28, the B.C. panel on basic income released its 500-page report with 65 recommendations; it does not support basic income as a central pillar of its plan.

The Basic Income Canada Network is listed among organizations that the B.C. panel consulted. We shared our expertise and the experiences of people who had been in the Ontario pilot. We provided them with our own detailed analysis and modelling in Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada

Our principles make it clear that we have never claimed basic income to be a panacea, that it works in synergy with services and labour legislation. We stress that everyone should be able to meet basic needs and live with dignity. None of this is reflected in their report.

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Senator Kim Pate calls B.C.'s basic income decision 'too little, too late'

OTTAWA, FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2021—The report of the BC Expert Panel on Basic Income recommends much needed steps toward basic income for Canadians living in poverty but designs them to provide too little and too late.

The report rightly identifies that single, working-aged adults, including single parents, are most likely to be marginalized and left behind due to gaps in federal supports and the indignities and inadequacies of provincial and territorial social assistance and disability support programs. Yet it recommends continuing to slowly tinker with this patchwork of programs that we know, by design, will leave people in need still falling through the cracks.

The report highlights that guaranteed livable basic income is not a stand-alone solution. Certainly, it must work alongside robust social programs and policies to ensure, among other necessities, effective labour standards, accessible and affordable housing, and comprehensive healthcare, education and childcare. This should not devalue the merits of guaranteed livable basic income or any other component of a strong social, health and economic safety net that will create the supportive and mutually beneficial communities outlined by the report.


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BC Panel Rejects a Universal Basic Income

The Tyee

It appears to be the end of the road for a universal basic income in British Columbia.

A panel appointed by the provincial government in 2018 to examine the idea of a basic income reported today that it would not be the most effective way to improve people’s lives.

Instead, the spirit of basic income should underlie “co-ordinated and substantial” reform of the province’s existing social programs, according to the panel.

Targeted basic incomes should replace some social supports like disability and income assistance, as well as support youth leaving care and women fleeing violence, the report concluded.

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Government wants input on budget; Basic income advocates see opportunity

Sheila Regehr, chair of BICN.

As the federal government releases its pre-budget public consultation questionnaire, basic income advocates see an opportunity to provide input on what our government’s economic priorities should be.

“You won’t see basic income in the questionnaire, you have to add it in”, says Sheila Regehr, chair of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN).  “There are several places where ‘other’ can be checked and you can type in basic income and give a reason for supporting the policy at the bottom,” she says.

As well, the government is accepting ‘formal letters and papers’ that can be submitted by simply uploading them.


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