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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Liberals invite basic income expert to speak at pre-budget hearings

By Bill Curry

Globe and Mail

Federal Liberals invited a leading expert on guaranteed annual income to make the case at pre-budget hearings for a major overhaul of Canada’s social safety net.

The invitation is further evidence that Liberals are exploring an idea that has been debated for decades but is now gaining momentum in Canada and abroad.

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Food insecurity and the promise of basic income

By Elaine Power

I’ve been studying the issue of food insecurity for over 20 years. Food insecurity refers to the state in which people can’t afford to buy healthy, culturally appropriate and personally acceptable food to feed themselves or their families.

It is a serious public health concern, affecting over 4 million Canadians including about 1.15 million children. It is clearly a symptom of poverty.

In low-income households, a lot of work (usually invisible) goes into managing the household budget. When it looks like there won’t be enough money for food, the person primarily responsible for food provisioning, usually a woman, intensifies the management process, first decreasing the quality of the food, substituting cheaper, more filling foods, to the detriment of fresh produce and dairy products.

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